Robot Taxi is a joint venture between internet company DeNA and driverless car technology ZMP which is also part of Japanese government effort to support technological innovation within the country. Recently the company announced that they will begin testing cabbie-free taxi services in 2016 and aimed to be fully operational for commercial purposes for 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
The road testing will be conducted in the south of Tokyo with simple routes to get passengers from their home to the grocery stores. Apparently south of Tokyo is considered as a suburban environment where you can expect a lot of greeneries and it will not be easy to get a public transport to bring you from one point to another.
Similar to other Japanese automakers Toyota, the Robot Taxi’s targeted consumers are the elderly as Japan is one of the nations with the highest elderly populations in the world. Apart from them, the company is also targeting people with disabilities as well as visitors to Japan.
Self driving cars technology is required to be as flawless as possible before they can be released into public use. On top of that there should be government regulations in order to keep it manageable in case there is crisis. Google itself has been testing its own self driving cars since 2009 and the company has not release a definite timeline on the official release date. Therefore it seems like 5 years goal is a little bit ambitious.