Japan airport may soon have driverless buses to ferry passengers to and from planes. Haneda airport in Tokyo has already started testing buses that do not have drivers. While it looks like any normal bus from outside with a man sitting in the driver's seat, it is not any regular vehicle. However, a driver sat on the driver's seat ready to take control of the steering if the need arises. Self-driving buses are a part of Japan's first series of experiment restricted only to carry passengers within the airport premises.
For the project, six Japanese firms including national carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA) have come together. The current test which was held last week is a 10-day experiment with a self-driving prototype minibus. Japan Times quoted Tadakatsu Yamaguchi, an ANA official as saying, "As widely reported in the media, our industry regards the lack of drivers as an important issue. Through automation, we hope to increase a vehicle’s operation time, enhance vehicle coordination and reduce the labour of bus drivers." First Indian Firm to Develop High-Precision HD Maps for Self-Driving Cars in the US.
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Japan aims to have at least one airport with automated transportation by 2020. The bus can carry 10 people and connect two terminals at a speed of up to 30kmh using Global Positioning System and magnetic markers on the road. About 200 magnetic markers have been implanted on the road where the test minibus is running. Tadakatsu Yamaguchi said that with Japan expecting more flights in the coming years, the goal is to carry out operations for the ground crew in an effective manner. The experiment which began on January 15 is to be wrapped up on Friday.