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New Demonstration Test of Remote Control of Driverless Last-Mile Autonomous Driving to Start

World's first demonstration test of an autonomous driving system with which a single operator is able to monitor and remotely control two driverless vehicles simultaneously

November 14, 2018

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) have jointly developed vehicles with a built-in technology equivalent to the Level 4 Autonomous Driving Technologies through the project commissioned to the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST).

On November 19, 2018, using these newly-developed vehicles, the ministries will begin the world’s first demonstration test on public roads in Eiheiji Town, Fukui Prefecture. The test is an experiment of an autonomous driving system with which an operator is able to remotely monitor and control two driverless vehicles simultaneously.

Transportation services that take advantage of unmanned autonomous driving systems could contribute to curbing operation costs of public transportation, overcoming challenges in driver shortages, and mitigating burdens for people with limited mobility especially in depopulated and rural areas. Due to these factors, the need for these services has been growing throughout 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 an unmanned, autonomous driving system in 2020 as one of the major efforts for achieving this revolution in mobility. To this end, they have been advancing a project titled “Research and Development/Demonstration Project for Public Implementation of an Advanced Autonomous Driving System: Demonstration Test to Implement Public Terminal Transportation Systems Taking Advantage of Autonomous Driving Systems in Special Zones” which has been commissioned to AIST.

Under the project, the ministries conducted a demonstration test of an autonomous driving system of a driverless vehicle that is remotely monitored and controlled by an operator. Following this test, they will conduct the world’s first demonstration test of an autonomous driving system in two driverless vehicles, in which a built-in technology equivalent to the Level 4 Autonomous Driving Technologies developed by AIST will be installed, that will be remotely monitored and operated simultaneously by an operator. This test will be conducted in response to the ministries receiving two permits: a permit that relaxed standards for an autonomous driving system of two driverless vehicles remotely operated by an operator, the first such permit issued in Japan, from the Chubu District Transport Bureau, MLIT, on October 18, 2018; and a permit for using public roads for this demonstration test of this autonomous driving system from the Fukui Prefectural Police on November 7, 2018, after the vehicles passed a driving test administered by the police.

*Note: This is the world’s first demonstration test in which remote monitoring and operation of two driverless vehicles with an autonomous driving system is undertaken by a single operator on public roads.

Division in Charge

ITS and Autonomous Driving Promotion Office, Manufacturing Industries Bureau