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Research & Technology

Tokyo tests autonomous taxis for the Olympics

On a test track in the Japanese capital, the research team is testing how safely and efficiently self-propelled taxis can transport passengers. The goal is to use them during the Olympics in 2020.

15 Sep. 2018
HMI-ID09-008br_-drive.ai_01
Tokyo tests autonomous taxis for the Olympics (Photo: drive.ai)

Autonomous cars as shuttles or taxis – not only car manufacturers like Volkswagen and Mercedes are working on this but also startups like Drive.Ai , which is already carrying out tests with autonomous taxis in Frisco, Texas. Visitors to the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan could now have self-driving cars take them to the relevant sports facilities in Tokyo.

This, at least, is the objective of the Japanese company ZMP , which specializes in automated industrial vehicles as well as software and hardware for autonomous systems. MaaS – Mobility as a Service – is the name of the concept that ZMP intends to implement in cooperation with the taxi company Hinormaru Kotsu Co. Passengers register via an app and are then picked up by a converted Toyota Estima, with a QR code ensuring identification. The autonomous taxis are equipped with short-range radar, stereo cameras, Lidar and newly developed self-drive software. At the 5.3 kilometer test track in Tokyo, there are still drivers on board just in case; the taxis are expected to be driving completely autonomously by the end of the year – if this test is also approved.