1. Home
  2. News Releases
  3. Back Issues
  4. August FY2018
  5. Initiation of Demonstration Test for Evaluation of Last-Mile Autonomous Driving Using Small Buses with Autonomous Driving Function

Initiation of Demonstration Test for Evaluation of Last-Mile Autonomous Driving Using Small Buses with Autonomous Driving Function

August 27, 2018

Joint Press Release with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism

On October 19, 2018, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) will jointly initiate a demonstration test to evaluate last-mile autonomous driving using small buses with a built-in technology equivalent to the Level 4 autonomous driving technologies for a distance of 3.2 km on part of the Hitachi BRT, a busway and a general road, through a project commissioned to the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST).

1. Purpose

Transportation services that take advantage of driverless autonomous driving systems in depopulated and regional areas may contribute to reducing operation costs of public transportation, overcoming challenges in driver shortages, and mitigating burdens for people with limited mobility. From these viewpoints, the need for these services has been growing among municipalities and with regional transportation businesses.

In accordance with the goals set in the Future Investment Strategy 2018 (approved by the Cabinet on June 15, 2018), METI and MLIT aim to realize a mobility service that uses a driverless, autonomous driving technology in 2020 as one of the major efforts for achieving this revolution in mobility. To this end, the ministries have been advancing a project titled “Research and Development/Demonstration Project for Implementation of an Advanced Autonomous Driving System in Society.”

The Future Investment Strategy 2018 stipulates that Japan should promote demonstration tests for technologies and services in a manner close to actual business models. In response, in cooperation with municipalities and regional transportation businesses, METI and MLIT will study the level that users and residents around the areas in which such buses run can accept the introduction of the new technology as well as the commercial feasibility of operating such buses by regional businesses that will become operators of such transportation services.

2. Schedule

Test period: From October 19 (Fri.) to 28 (Sun.), 2018
Test site: Hitachi City, Ibaraki Prefecture

Notes:

  1. This schedule of the test may change due to weather and other conditions.
  2. For details of the launching ceremony, AIST will release them at a later date.

References

Division in Charge

ITS and Autonomous Driving Promotion Office, Automobile Division, Manufacturing Industries Bureau