Japanese “Driverless Driving” Plan to Go Live in 2020s
Japan’s Transport Ministry is about to start a project to create an autopilot system which would take over for cars on expressways.
The ministry envisages an autonomous vehicle system in which, after leaving your home, you enter an interchange of a nearby expressway while manually operating your car.
When pulling into the expressway’s lane exclusively for the autopilot system, you change your driving mode to “automatic driving” and input your destination onto the system. You would take your hands and feet off the steering wheel, gas pedal and brake.
You would return to driving on your own only after reaching an intersection near your destination. Until then, you would leave all driving tasks to the self-steering system, comfortably enjoying whatever activity you like.
The system is hoped to alleviate congestion by keeping vehicles going at a constant speed, while eliminating accidents caused by vehicles veering out of lanes.
A study panel will being initial discussions about the project this month, with an aim to have the system operational in around 10 years.
RoboCar HV: a Driverless Car That Can Be Driven With an iPad
The Robocar HV being developed by ZMP is a test vehicle for research and development that acquires vehicle sensor data via the vehicle’s controller area network (CAN) to enable vehicle control through an independent controller. The Robocar HV can acquire various information such as speed, engine RPM, number of steering wheel turns, and orientation, and it can control steering, acceleration, and braking. Acquired driving data can also be saved and put into a database in a server via the Internet using a cloud service jointly developed with Microsoft Japan.
“The technology is pretty much already there,” says Peter Stone, a computer scientist at the University of Texas at Austin. And this was also the jarring promise of Tom Vanderbilt’s recent profile of the autonomous car in Wired. “But the question is when will it be cost-effective? When will the legal industry wrap its head around it, and the insurance industry, and when will people buy into it? I don’t know when it will actually happen. But the potential advantages are so huge that it has to happen eventually.