East Japan Railway Co. is testing a self-driving bus in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture.
The first such endeavor for a Japan Railways Group company, the test was shown to the media Tuesday. It is being conducted on a rapid transit route that has run since 2013 on a dedicated road built over part of the JR Ofunato Line, which was damaged in the Great East Japan Earthquake.
In the demonstration, the bus drove about 400 meters using sensors to read data from magnetic markers, GPS and other sources. It reached a maximum speed of 40 kilometers per hour and stopped at a set location. The driver did not touch the steering wheel during the demonstration.
“The maintenance of communities’ public transportation networks will be an issue in the future. We want to get this up and running quickly to help with Tohoku’s recovery,” said Isao Sato, the head of JR East’s technology innovation headquarters.Speech