Japan has an aging population, as the number of taxi drivers aged 75 or older was increasing each year and it is expected to exceed 5 million in three years. Therefore, the number of accidents caused by drivers aged 75 or older was increased 20% over a decade. With the rise of driverless cars in automotive industry, Japan has come out with an idea of having a robotic taxi which simply known as Robot Taxis and yes, it is driverless.
Robot Taxi is the result from collaboration between ZMP, a developer of automated vehicle technology and DeNa, a mobile internet firm. They are expected to compete with other global companies such as Google, Ford or BMW to launch unmanned vehicle to public.
Robot Taxi will be tested starting from March 2016 in a large coastal town near Tokyo, Fujisawa, to ferry its residents from their homes to the supermarkets which the distance is about 3km along the city’s main roads. In order for it to work perfectly, it is equipped with GPS, radar and stereovision cameras and there is also an attendant who will be trained to take over the car manually if there is anything that the system cannot handle.
If the testing in Fujisawa is a success, therefore, Robot Taxi will be used to ferry spectators around in the 2020 Olympics.