Japan to Test Unmanned Vehicles on Public Roads

Politics

Tokyo, June 24 (Jiji Press)--Japan's industry ministry plans to start testing unmanned ground vehicles, or UGVs, on public roads by the end of March next year through cooperation with private-sector companies, hoping to put them into practical use soon.

The ministry agreed Monday to establish a public-private council on UGVs. Members include cybermall operator Rakuten Inc. <4755>, Yamato Transport Co., Japan Post Co. and transport company Seino Holdings Co. <9076> as well as the National Police Agency, the transport ministry and local governments.

The council is slated to identify challenges, including ways to secure the safety of UGVs on public roads and who would bear responsibility for accidents, officials said.

The ministry is considering possible revisions to the road traffic law in fiscal 2020, which starts in April next year.

Utilizing the Global Positioning System and cameras, UGVs would be used to deliver parcels and other items. They are expected to be utilized by logistics companies that face severe labor shortages, industry sources said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press