Driverless Terminal Bus Set on Test Run at Haneda Airport

From self-driving taxis to automatic trains, Japan is exploring ways on how to adapt to the current shortage in manpower, especially that the number of tourists are expected to balloon towards the build-up for the upcoming Tokyo Games in a year’s time.

This has certainly proven the case that innovation is driven by necessity. And this is definitely a good thing not only for the citizens but also for the government because once this technology becomes adopted in the country; soon it will also pick up foreign interest.

Driverless Terminal Bus Set on Test Run at Haneda Airport
Screengrab from YouTube

Self-driving Terminal Bus Set on Test Run at Haneda Airport

Recently, a minibus bearing the logo of All Nippon Airways Co.’s signature blue and white logo plied across the tarmac at Tokyo’s Haneda airport. And while it looks like an ordinary bus from the outside, with a person sitting on the driver’s seat – only no one is really operating the vehicle, as shared in a report by the Japan Times.

This was what had been a first look of an autonomous airport bus experiment in progress. It is part of Japan’s first series of automatic vehicle control systems which aim to carry passengers within an airport’s restricted zone.

The experiment tested at Haneda was conceived through the efforts of six companies namely ANA, NEC Corp., and Aichi Steel Corp.

As more flights are expected to enter and exit from Haneda in the coming years, the goal is to efficiently and effectively carry out operations for the ground crew explained Tadakatsu Yamaguchi, an ANA official.

The services they plan to offer through the new autonomous bus system include moving passengers between aircraft and terminals, as well as loading and unloading passenger luggage.

As per the report, at this stage of the experiment, a driver is always onboard to ensure safety. Officials maintained however that the journey would eventually to driverless as the experiment reaches full completion.

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