Since Google kicked off their autonomous automobile program, the goal of allowing robots to pilot a vehicle has become more and more plausible. And now, reports The Wall Street Journal, a fleet of self-driving taxis are scheduled to hit the roads of Japan as soon as next year!
Robot technology has come a long way in a short period of time. Not only have scientists created a so-called ‘psychic robot’ that can predict human behavior, robots are already replacing human employees in establishments like McDonald’s.
A partnership between the Japanese federal government and Robot Taxi will see 50 people participate in a trial scheme in the Kanagawa prefecture, just south of Tokyo. The trips will span about 3 kilometers and involves some of the main roads in the city. Human drivers will still be on hand in case they need to take over in an emergency situation.
Company Robot Taxi aims to get its driverless transportation service commercialized by the turn of the decade (2020 also happens to be the same target Google set itself for getting its cars out of testing and on sale to those who fancy them).