8/28/2018

Self-Driving Taxi Debuts in Tokyo

Facebook Share Icon LinkedIn Share Icon Twitter Share Icon Share by EMail icon Print Icon

A self-driving taxi began service in Tokyo on Monday, shuttling passengers over a 5-km (3-mile) route in the city.

Share

Facebook Share Icon LinkedIn Share Icon Twitter Share Icon Share by EMail icon Print Icon
A self-driving taxi began service in Tokyo on Monday, shuttling passengers over a 5-km (3-mile) route in the city, The Nikkei reports.


The car is being touted as the world’s first autonomous taxi to run on public roads. The modified Toyota minivan was equipped by Tokyo-based robotics developer ZMP Inc. and is operated by local taxi service Hinomaru Kotsu.

The taxi can automatically start, stop, change lanes, read signals and traffic signs, respond to pedestrian traffic and negotiate construction zones and lane closures. A backup driver sits behind the wheel to take control if necessary.

The test vehicle currently is making only four round trips per day, according to The Nikkei. Customers book one-way rides online at 1,500 yen ($13) per trip and unlock the taxi by using a code sent to their smartphones.

ZMP and Hinomaru Kotsu hope to fully commercialize the service in 2020, when the city will host the Summer Olympics.