Recently, Robot Taxi, Inc. announced it will begin a taxi service with self-driving cars in 2016. The service will be tested out, but eventually Robot Taxi wants to have a fully operational service in 2020, which is when the Summer Olympics in Tokyo takes place.
Robot Taxi will begin testing in Tokyo. The company will start off with simple routes that are designed to bring passengers from their homes to get their groceries.
The service is a joint venture between Robot Taxi and DeNa, a mobile Internet firm, as well as ZMP, a vehicle technology developer. Robot Taxi’s system incorporates stereo vision cameras, GPS and image analysis to get around. The cabs won’t be travelling very far, at least during the test phase. The self-driving cabs will travel a distance of around two miles, and there will be crew members on-board, just in case they need to avoid accidents.
The mechanism that is being used is similar to what Google uses for their cars.
Tomoyuki Akiyama, the DeNA global press rep, said that cars today are similar to feature phones in the 2000s, and they believe they can help them evolve quicker. Akiyama added that the automotive industry’s focus is shifting from hardware to software, as well as mobile, and it (DeNa) sees a major opportunity there.
Robot Taxi released a promotional video, which shows Japan five years down the road, where cars are part of the community, as well as something that people can rely on. The promo video appears to target those who are unable to drive, but still want to be active within the community.