Autonomous Taxi Starts Running in Tokyo
A driver, of course, is a DRIVER. A driver drives a vehicles boarded by passengers from one place to another, occupying a seat without passenger needs for themselves. If a taxi were to be driven without a driver, a good sum of money spent on transport could be saved and a spare seat would be available for accommodation of multiple passengers all the time.
Well, that is what ZMP Inc., a developer of autonomous technology based in Tokyo, Japan has started taking steps to solve the problem described above. They have developed self – driving cars that would maneuver themselves through traffic to reach a passenger(s) who orders the car, picks them up and drops them at their set location in due time at a fair fare.
Considering that there are many fish in the sea of autonomous driving and automotives such as General Motors Co. and Waymo, a spinoff of tech giant Google, have started tests on public roads in the United States, while Nissan Motor Co. and DeNA Co. conducted tests on a ride-hailing service in Yokohama, near Tokyo, in March. ZMP Inc., while a part of this large pool of companies competing and excelling in the same field, boasts itself to be the first company achieving the feat of operational and feasible autonomous vehicles that they are currently testing as taxis. While they have a highly ambitious motive to launch a complete functional network of smart autonomous taxi system all over the city of Tokyo by the year 2020.
ZMP Inc. currently have developed prototypes of smart autonomous taxi’s and are planning to open them up to commercial public usage as soon as 8th September, 2018. Their confidence in the commercial feasibility of the project as their taxis are expected to maneuver themselves through the thick traffic of the city of Tokyo, stop at lights and follow traffic rules and regulations, comes from the fact that they have already demonstrated and tested their developed prototypes.
They had chosen passengers in advance, just 96 rides that were gifted to the selected passengers chosen from a total of 1,500 people who applied. The testing passengers waited for their taxis at their designated spots, opened the doors and enter an empty car with no driver, paying a fair deal of $13 for a one way ride through Tokyo. Their experience with the service? “It was such a natural ride that I almost forgot it was a self-driving car. I felt the advancement of technology.” As per the first public passenger of the prototype taxi. A Kyodo News reporter who went on a test ride near the Imperial Palace on 25th August, Saturday, also said the driving was remarkably smooth overall, particularly when merging into traffic and turning at an intersection.
Although the passengers did point out some minor flaws in the performance of the autonomous taxi, it was overall an operational success; and it can be confidently said that ZMT Inc. passed their first milestone in the first try with flying colors.