Driverless robot taxis

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Dozens of people in Japan will be whisked to the local shops in driverless taxis from next year in an experiment with robot technology that could be fully commercial by the time Tokyo hosts the Olympics in 2020.

From March 2016, the taxis will take about 50 residents of Fujisawa, a large coastal town near Tokyo, from their homes to supermarkets along the city’s main roads in journeys of about 3km.

Robot Taxi – a collaboration between ZMP, a developer of automated vehicle technology, and mobile internet firm DeNa – is expected to intensify the global race, involving Google, Ford, BMW and other firms, to launch unmanned vehicles on to the consumer market.

While Japanese developers have faith in the car’s GPS, radar and stereovision cameras, attendants will sit in the driver’s seat during the journeys in case human intervention is needed, according to media reports.

If the Fujisawa trials are successful, the cars could be used to ferry spectators around at the 2020 Games and in rural communities with little or no public transport.


FiveWordsForTheFuture - Dec 14, 2015 | Automotive, Robotics, Society, Transportation
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