Japan starts self-driving bus test runs in Tokyo-Xinhua

Japan starts self-driving bus test runs in Tokyo

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2023-10-03 10:59:45

TOKYO, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has kicked off its test runs of a self-driving bus, as Japan seeks driverless services and autonomous public transportation solutions.

The self-driving bus, capable of cruising at speeds of up to 50 kilometers per hour, was introduced on Monday as the tests started, amid efforts to address the persistent shortage of bus drivers in the bustling Japanese capital.

Operating along a regular loop route that connects the busy Shinjuku Station with two key metropolitan government buildings, the autonomous bus boasts a limited seating capacity of just 18 passengers.

To secure a spot on the self-driving journey, passengers must reserve their seats in advance via an online booking system.

The test runs are scheduled to continue until Oct. 13, as the self-driving bus operates during the week with 12 services running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a reduced schedule on weekends and holidays.

Officials with the metropolitan government introduced that they aim to evaluate the self-driving bus's performance in navigating areas characterized by relatively heavy traffic, all while assessing the infrastructure requirements for designated autonomous lanes, according to local media outlets.

Although Japan is taking more ambitious steps toward the game-changing transportation solutions, including the level IV vehicles, analysts here noted that driverless transit is still a long way off for the country.