TOKYO >> A consortium of companies is offering foreign visitors to Tokyo a taste of autonomous transportation. A project using airport shuttle buses and self-driving taxis will seamlessly transport tourists from two airports to the Marunouchi shopping district near Tokyo Station.
The Mobility as a Service experiment, to run Jan. 20 to Feb. 1, will allow users to make reservations via smartphones. Overseas tourists can reserve shuttle services from either Haneda or Narita airports to Tokyo City Air Terminal, where they will board a self-driving taxi bound for Marunouchi.
The ride from Narita Airport to Marunouchi Park Building will cost 3,800 yen (about $35); the fee from Haneda Airport to Marunouchi will be 1,600 yen (about $14.60). Reservations can be secured for just the taxi service for 1,200 yen (about $11).
For more details about the service, visit 808ne.ws/autonomous.
Visitors can also take complimentary rides in a self-driving single-seat vehicle on select days, directing it to destinations within the Marunouchi area.
Reservations started Dec. 2 and will run through Jan. 9.
The taxis will have backup drivers to ensure safety.
The autonomous vehicles, developed by self-driving startup ZMP Inc., will be operated by major taxi firms Nihon Kotsu Co. and Hinomaru Kotsu Co.
ZMP and Hinomaru Kotsu launched the world’s first autonomous taxi project in August 2018 to ease the chronic shortage of taxi drivers in high-demand metropolitan areas.
The shuttle is operated by Airport Transport Service Co. and Tokyo City Air Terminal Co.
Other companies supporting the experiment are JTB Corp. and Mitsubishi Estate Co.