Nissan is working toward technology to put truly driverless cars on the streets of Tokyo by 2020. The project's goal is driverless commercial vehicles that could deliver packages or transport people on short trips. Work will begin this year with DeNA, a Japanese Internet company, and initial trials will take place in designated driverless car test zones in Japan. The 2020 goal is aggressive, but Nissan probably has the Tokyo Olympics in mind. Many Japanese companies have similar projects to wow Olympic visitors and help the country put its best foot forward.
In addition to hoverboards, unicycles, mopeds, and dog-pulled skateboards – as well as an occasional car or bike – San Franciscans will soon be sharing the roads with driverless robocars, zipping through traffic without the added weight of human passengers. Last October Cruise LLC received a permit to test up to five vehicles at a time within City limits without a human in the driver's seat. Cruise is the fifth company allowed to conduct such field work in California. San Franciscans have seen plenty of self-driving cars, but always with human passengers. Usually identifiable by prominent logos and strangely protruding sensors, autonomous vehicles (AV) have been approved for testing on California's roadways since 2014.
Chinese internet giant Baidu and autonomous vehicle company Pony.ai To date, numerous cities in China have allowed autonomous vehicle companies to test self-driving vehicles without a human safety operator in the driver's seat, but this is the first time companies are allowed to run a fully driverless service. That said, the permit does require the companies to have a safety operator present in the front passenger seat, so the regulation is not quite as mature as, say, California's driverless permits which require no human in the vehicle aside from the passenger. Neither Pony nor Baidu will be charging a fee for driverless rides yet, although both companies are currently running commercial services with drivered robotaxis in Yizhuang, Beijing, otherwise referred to as Beijing High-level Automated Driving Demonstration Area (BJHAD), according to a Baidu spokesperson. This 60-square-kilometer stretch of Beijing, home to about 300,000 residents, is also where both Baidu's and Pony's driverless service will run.
The driverless taxi era has finally arrived, in parts of Arizona, at least. Two weeks after Alphabet-owned Waymo started its driverless taxi service to the public in Phoenix, other autonomous vehicle developers are following suit with test vehicles on public roads as well. Until spring this year, Waymo's self-driving vehicles were in their testing phase and were used in up to 10% of the firm's rides. The pandemic forced the company to shutter its doors and temporarily suspend on-road testing, but it is now back online and is expanding its operations. However, as is still required by law, the Waymo One taxi currently requires a human driver to be present to manage the car's autonomous operation and take control when necessary.
This will include assessing safety issues and the perception of safety, considering the relationship with other road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and users of conventional vehicles. The committee will analyse the progress of research and trials into autonomous and connected vehicles in the UK and overseas, and the likely uses of them for private motoring, public transport and commercial driving. Required changes to regulations such as the vehicles' legal status, insurance and authorisation processes will also be investigated. Fully driverless cars are not yet legally permitted in the UK, but autonomous features are being developed by car makers. The Highway Code will be updated on Friday to state that users of self-driving cars will be allowed to watch television programmes and films on built-in screens, but using a phone will remain illegal. The code, which contains advice and rules for people on Britain's roads, will also state that users will not be responsible for crashes, with insurance companies liable for claims.