The days of being bored stiff by a taxi driver could soon be over. That’s because they could soon be driven by robots. Next year, Japan will trial self-driving taxis, courtesy of Robot Taxi.
The firm will deploy 50 taxis in the Kanagawa prefecture just south of Tokyo during the trial period.
It will be a more limited trial than if they were in proper use. They will be charged with shuttling people between their houses and grocery stores. A member of the crew will be on board in case of any problems.
The taxis will only travel about two miles at a time.
If the trial is successful, Robot Taxi hopes to have the full fleet running by 2020, which is the same timeframe Google has set out for its range of autonomous vehicles.
Here’s a video of Robot Taxi’s vehicles in action.