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  5. Pre-Demonstration Tests for a Small-sized Bus with an Autonomous Driving System to be Conducted in Advance of Scheduled Demonstration Tests for Mid-sized Buses with Autonomous Driving Systems

Pre-Demonstration Tests for a Small-sized Bus with an Autonomous Driving System to be Conducted in Advance of Scheduled Demonstration Tests for Mid-sized Buses with Autonomous Driving Systems

January 22, 2020

From February 3 to 29, 2020, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) will conduct a pre-demonstration test of a small-sized bus with an autonomous driving system in the bus route connecting Kitakyushu City and Kanda Town, Fukuoka Prefecture, in which the target bus will be operated by Nishi-Nippon Railroad Co., Ltd. This effort is in preparation for the scheduled demonstration tests for mid-sized buses with autonomous driving systems.

METI and MLIT have been advancing a project titled “Research and Development/Demonstration Project for Implementation of an Advanced, Public, Autonomous Driving System: Demonstration of Implementing a Public Transportation System Taking Advantage of Autonomous Driving, etc., on Dedicated Lanes,” which has been commissioned to the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (hereinafter referred to as “AIST”).

As part of the commissioned project, the ministries are scheduled to conduct demonstration tests for mid-sized buses with autonomous driving systems. To this end, they have been advancing the development of mid-sized busses with autonomous driving systems and, on October 16, 2019, selected bus operation businesses in five target areas for the demonstration tests, and since then, they have been advancing preparations for the demonstration tests in the respective target areas.

The ministries selected the area of Kitakyushu City and Kanda Town, Fukuoka Prefecture, which is one of the five areas selected for the mid-sized bus demonstration tests, in which the target bus will be operated by Nishi-Nippon Railroad Co., Ltd. The decision to conduct a pre-demonstration test for a small-sized bus with an autonomous driving system in the bus route connecting Kitakyushu City and Kanda Town was made based on various considerations, including the relative progress in discussions and other preparations in the five areas. Specifically, from February 3 to 29, 2020, they will conduct the pre-demonstration test on public, non-highway roads covering a distance of approximately 10.5km between Kitakyushu Airport and Kusami Station. Taking the opportunity of the test of the small-sized bus with an autonomous driving system, they will also demonstrate technologies involved in the built-in systems of the mid-sized buses with autonomous driving systems which are under development.

This pre-demonstration test will be conducted only in one area selected from the five target areas for demonstration tests for mid-sized buses with autonomous driving systems. However, the ministries expect to share the results of the pre-demonstration test with the bus operation businesses in other target areas to encourage the businesses to make use of the results in preparation for their local demonstration tests.

For details of the project, including first departure ceremony for the bus, visit the AIST website.

Reference

Division in Charge

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