ISE-SHIMA: Hailing a taxi using an app on the mobile phone has become common in many parts of the world. Now you can get a driverless taxi the same way - from booking the vehicle to paying the fare at the end of the trip done through an app.
Japanese technology company Robot Taxi unveiled driverless taxis on Thursday on the sidelines of the G7 summit for a test drive by those attending the meet in Kashiko Island in Mie Prefecture’s Shima city.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a presentation on driverless cars to the leaders attending the summit, and some of them had taken a drive in these vehicles. However, the leaders of Germany and the US, the countries that are in stiff competition with Japan in car manufacturing, didn’t take a ride in the cars, which Japanese officials had later attributed to their busy schedule.
“It is a very interesting project that makes transportation a hasslefree exercise. From reservation to payment, everything is managed with a single app on your smartphone,” Tomoyuki Akiyama, an official with Robot Taxi that plans to launch the service, says.
Robot Taxi is a joint venture between ZMP that develops automated vehicle technology and mobile portal and e-commerce websites provider DeNa Co.
There is already a race for rolling out driverless cars, involving major firms such as Toyota, Ford, BMW and Google among others.
Ahead of the summit, Japanese car maker Toyota and taxi-hailing service Uber entered into a pact for sharing knowledge and speeding up their respective research efforts. Both firms are keen on driverless cars.