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SoftBank targets deploying self-driving buses in Japan from April 2020

Author : Saipriya Iyer | Published Date : 2020-01-29 

SoftBank Group is aiming to boost its efforts to deploy self-driving buses in Japan soon. The group will soon unveil a plan for carrying passengers across public roads from April.

Apparently, a town located on the outskirts of Tokyo, Sakai, has been planning to start running vehicles over a 2.5-kilometer route, making certain stops at schools and banks. French startup, Navya, will be providing 11 passenger autonomous buses. These vehicles have installed integrated monitoring software that has been developed by SB Drive.

Yuki Saji, CEO, SB Drive, stated that the self-driving buses will provide practical conveniences instead of cutting-edge technology. He called them ‘horizontal elevators’ that have a fixed route and move at regular intervals.

According to the law by the Japanese government, autonomous vehicles usually are not permitted to operate on public roads. SoftBank, however, secured an exemption from the same. It modified all the Navya vehicles in order to meet the safety requirement laid down by Japan, as it included a designated seat for a crew member who, in a case of emergency, could take control of the car.

Subsequently, the autonomous driving system installed in the buses is a level 2 technology that is assisted by a driver. SoftBank believes that this can jump to level 4 that allows driving sans human intervention after the regulatory restriction gets lifted.

According to reliable sources, this push highlights the goals of SoftBank pertaining to autonomous driving technology, notwithstanding all the setbacks the group had to face regarding investments in the industry.

Chief Business Development Officer of Navya, Henri Coron commented that the company’s vehicles have been operating across 18 countries, but Japan has been considered a key target on account of the demographic challenge as well as the willingness of local governments in the country to finance self-driving technology.


Source Credit- https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/SoftBank2/SoftBank-makes-self-driving-push-in-Japan

About Author

Saipriya Iyer

Saipriya Iyer

Saipriya Iyer presently works as a content developer for fractovia.org. Having dabbled with the domain of content creation for nearly half a decade, she now boasts of an enviable portfolio, holding substantial experience in penning down pieces related to technology, finance, and a wide spectrum of other industry verticals. A qualified computer engineering graduate from the University of Pune, Saipriya can often be found leveraging her knowledge of software technology and electronics in her write-ups. She can be contacted at- [email protected] | https://twitter.com/saipriya_i

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