We always associate self-driving cars with futuristic movies, as that kind of transportation remains an object of an ideal future for car owners. But Japan’s Ministry of Transportation seems to think that the best way to make it happen in the future is to develop the technology now – which is not a bad concept at all. Japan’s transport ministry has recently revealed an interim report on a car-based autopilot driving system which is aimed at cutting traffic jams and accidents on expressways. The ministry is looking to introduce this technology system in the early 2020s.
“It is a pioneering effort by global standards and we want to promote it with a sense of speed,” Hiroshi Kajiyama, senior vice minister of the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry, said at an expert panel meeting. Ministry officials are anticipating the cooperation of top Japanese automakers in the development of the technology, which is also seen as a boost to the competitiveness of Japanese carmakers in the global car manufacturing industry. According to the data from the report, the autopilot system takes over the car just before entering an expressway and guides the car to their planned exit. With this system in mind, cars would need the technology in the system to control distance from one vehicle to one in front of it, as well as to maintain their position in the lane. Devices are also planned to be developed for giving drivers road information such as inclines, curves, traffic volume and real-time information on accidents. The transport ministry has set its timelines to be able to test the system on a single lane around 2016, and on a multi-lane expressway — with the cars able to automatically change lanes when needed – in the early 2020s.
With this in mind, Japanese automaker Nissan has revealed also recently that they plan to have a self-driving car available in the market by the year 2020 to coincide with the development of this system. Nissan believes that their “revolutionary” self-drive technology will be usable at around the same time the ministry plans to green light the system.
[via Kyodo News]