A driverless bus has been tested on a public road for the first time in Japan.
An IT company was contracted to carry out the trial run in Senboku City, Akita Prefecture.
The city is designated as a special zone for promoting deregulation and economic revitalization.
An electric bus from France was used for Sunday’s experiment. It has no driver’s seat or steering wheel, and uses GPS to travel along a fixed route.
The bus automatically stops when it detects a human being or an obstacle.
Thirty-six people took turns to ride on the bus, which traveled back and forth 3 times along a 400-meter stretch of road near Lake Tazawa.
A man who took a ride with his one-year-old child says it was as comfortable as an ordinary bus, and he hopes it will be put into commercial use, as accidents involving the elderly are on the rise.
Senboku City plans to operate driverless buses after repeating the trial run. A shortage of drivers is making it difficult for the city to maintain its bus service.
Senboku Mayor Mitsuhiro Kadowaki says driverless buses have infinite possibilities for public transport and tourism.
Source and image: NHK