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Robot Taxi will hit the streets of Japan in 2016
When Google said it expects to see self-driving cars on the road within the next five years, not everybody believed them. Others took it as a challenge, including – naturally – Japan which today revealed its innovative Robot Taxi scheme will launch in 2016.
The initiative involves everything you’d expect from a Robot Taxi, promising a self-driving car that will take passengers to and from their homes, grocery stores and other convenient locations. The taxis will travel around 2 miles at a time, winding in and out of the primary streets across the city.
Though they are, in fact, self-driving vehicles, there will be a Robot Taxi crew member on board to keep an eye out for any potential issues that may crop up. As the first autonomous cars to hits the streets, a few safety precautions probably aren’t a bad idea.
Based on the scheme’s promotional video, the company is aiming to help mobilise the aging population in Japan, an issue that is well-documented across Asia. Watch the clip below:
The trials are set to begin next year, with Robot Taxi offering their innovative automobiles to approximately 50 people in the Kanazawa prefecture just south of Tokyo. If the trial is a success then Robot Taxi will look to have their self-driving taxis fully-operational by the year 2020.
Robot Taxi could soon have competition in the race to bring autonomous vehicles to the masses. Just recently, Google hired ex-Ford GM John Krafcik to lead their self-driving car project, a sign that the company is very much looking to get things moving sooner rather than later. Uber are also in the running to trial their own self-driving cars, but Robot Taxi looks to be ahead of the curve for now.