Driverless Taxi Takes Paying Customers in Tokyo Trial

Posted on Monday 19 November 2018 by CarTakeBack

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Tokyo has had its first driverless taxi in operation, taking paying customers. This taxi was being used as a trial, with the hope of a fleet of them being operational ahead of the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. They want the taxis to take spectators between the sporting venues and the city centre during the event.

Being developed by ZMP, an autonomous driving technology company, and a Japanese taxi company, Hinomaru Kotsu, their testing of this driverless taxi, called the RoboCar MiniVan, is ahead of Toyota and Uber's partnership, who, after a setback in March, aim to start testing their driverless car in 2021.

Passenger ion a driverless taxi

The trial was running for approximately four weeks, and proved popular. 1,500 people applied to be passengers on one of the 96 journeys, which drive a 5.3km stretch of road between the Roppongi and Otemachi districts, four times a day.

During this trial a driver and assistant were on board so that they can take control of the vehicle if needed, but the trips have happened without any issues. Passengers used a smartphone app to unlock the door and pay their fare, not needing to interact with the safety officials on board in any capacity.

ZMP and Hinomaru Kotsu have said that their next trials will take place later this year, connecting Haneda Airport to the city centre.

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