Date: October 31, 2023. — Japan’s first pilot project for a completely autonomous self-driving vehicle has been halted following an accident with a parked bicycle. The event is the latest setback in the development of driverless vehicles, a technology that could help Japan’s aging population.
After Japan’s decision to permit Level 4 autonomous vehicles on its streets, the car had been traveling on Eiheiji’s public roads. The car had been traveling on Eiheiji’s public roads since May. It had been going up to twelve kilometers per hour at its fastest with sensors and radars to avoid obstacles. Though the technology has the potential to transform mobility for the elderly in Japan’s aging population, its abrupt halt after a small mishap has cast a shadow over global attempts to promote autonomous vehicles.
A vehicle struck a parked bicycle along a roadside on October 29, according to local official Norifumi Hiramoto. None of the passengers onboard suffered any injuries. Hiramoto noted that the team behind the vehicle is currently conducting an investigation to uncover the root cause of the occurrence. The investigation has led to the temporary suspension of the vehicle’s operation until we receive further clarification. The spokeswoman of the Fukui police announced that the crash did not injure anyone. Sensors and radars outfitted the vehicle to identify obstructions. It had reached a top speed of 12 kilometers per hour. This is equivalent to 7.5 miles per hour.
This suspension occurred shortly after California’s decision to halt the testing of General Motors‘ Cruise subsidiary’s driverless cars, known as robotaxis. This decision was made following a string of accidents and other operational issues. Reflecting a broader global trend, Japan has also been actively exploring the implementation of self-driving technologies on public roads. The country is currently considering relaxing its ban on ride-hailing services in response to a shortage of taxi drivers. The country also plans to allow Level 4 vehicles in 50 locations within the next three years.