An unmanned taxi service is to begin in Japan in early 2016. The service will launch just south of Tokyo, in Kanagawa prefecture and will provide approximately 50 residents with a robot taxi driver to transport them from their homes to the grocery store.
Robot Taxi Inc is a collaboration between the mobile Internet company DeNA Co. and vehicle technology developer ZMP Inc.
During the test run, the taxi’s will drive a distance of about 2 miles (3 km) and will travel along main routes. The taxis will have a crew member on-board just in case there is a need for human intervention. The plan is to launch a commercial unmanned service by 2020, in time for the next Olympics in Japan.
Robot Taxi’s say that the service will assist in improving the lives of the less-mobile and elderly and reduce the number of accidents involving elderly drivers.