Toyota Motor is set to launch a pilot project testing a transportation system focusing on autonomous vehicles, in one of Japan's first such initiatives in a real-life setting over a wide area. The company will team up with the University of Tsukuba and the government of the city, just north of Tokyo, to run the project. Under the system envisioned, self-driving, single-seat electric vehicles will take passengers from their homes to the nearest bus stop, where they will be able to transfer to autonomous, fuel-cell powered buses. The experiment, set for launch in fiscal 2019 and running until fiscal 2022, will test the feasibility of the relevant technologies in situations involving regular traffic. One of the main aims of the project is to help resolve the issue of elderly citizens being isolated from their communities.
Google was one of the pioneers of self-driving cars and is featured in the book. Google's autonomous driving operations are now concentrated in the Waymo division of Alphabet. Self-driving cars are likely to change the world dramatically in ways that few people expect, and you will miss them if you only focus on the autonomous driving part. This should not be surprising. When automobile engines started to replace horses, nobody really foresaw the consequences either.
In this image, Michael Graham, left, a freshman aeronautical engineering student from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and Marisa Witcpalek, a senior electrical engineering student at the University of Michigan, prepare to launch their boats during an in-water testing period ahead of the contest. Embry-Riddle placed eighth in the contest and the University of Michigan was sixth.