'Driverless driving' envisioned for Japan in early 2020s

Jul 05, 2012 The Yomiuri Shimbun

In just 10 years or so, Japanese motorists may be traveling around comfortably, free from traffic jams and accidents, in a vehicle that drives itself.

Japan's the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry will soon embark on a project to realize an "autopilot system" for automatic driving, a system for guiding motor vehicles on expressways without human assistance.

The system is expected to contribute significantly to such goals as alleviating drivers' fatigue, preventing and easing . It would be for vehicles referred to as self-driving cars capable of sensing their environment and navigating by themselves, with people not required to perform any mechanical operation besides choosing their destinations.

With a view to making an autopilot system a reality in the early 2020s, the ministry will launch a study panel of experts this year, to start full-scale discussions about a self-steering vehicle control project.

The ministry envisages an system in which, after leaving your home, motorists would enter an interchange of a nearby expressway while manually operating their cars.

When pulling into the expressway's lane exclusively for the autopilot system, the driving mode would change to "automatic driving" and input your destination into the system. Motorists would take their hands and feet off the , gas pedal and brake.

Drivers would again be on their own own only after reaching an intersection near their destinations. Until then, all driving tasks would be left the self-steering system.

The system would prevent from causing road accidents in the automatic driving areas. It also would enable the elderly, who sometimes have difficulty making quick judgments and keeping attentive while driving, to use expressways safely.

Explore further: Google building fleet of package-delivering drones

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Driver cellphone blocking technology could save lives

Jul 05, 2012

Researchers in India are developing a new technology that will prevent truck drivers and other road users from using their cell phones while driving. The technology based on RFIDs could also be integrated with police traffic ...

With human behind wheel, Google's self-driving car crashes

Aug 07, 2011

Google Inc.'s quest to popularize cars that drive themselves seemed to hit a roadblock Friday when news emerged that one of the automated vehicles was in an accident. But in an ironic twist, the company is saying that the ...

SARTRE car platoon road tests to begin (w/ Video)

Dec 10, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- The Safe Road Trains for the Environment (SARTRE) project in Europe aims to develop a wireless system that will allow cars on a public highway or motorway to join in a platoon, or semi-autonomous ...

Would cellphone ban dial back 'distracted driving'?

Dec 21, 2011

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) — an independent federal agency responsible for investigating transportation accidents and promoting transportation safety — called for a complete ...

Recommended for you

Visual search to shop: gimmick or game changing?

Aug 28, 2014

Imagine using your phone to snap a photo of the cool pair of sunglasses your friend is wearing and instantly receiving a slew of information about the shades along with a link to order them.

User comments : 0