Prototype for slow-moving automated vehicle tested

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A prototype vehicle of the low-speed automatic driving system released in Kobe on Feb. 2

KOBE — Gekidaniino G.K. and other entities have released a prototype vehicle in Kobe for a low-speed automatic driving system that runs up to 5 kph. Gekidaniino G.K. is an Osaka City-based subsidiary of Kansai Electric Power Co.

It is possible to hitch a ride while walking, and the vehicle moves while you stand on it. At present, it cannot be used on public roads, but in the future the developers aim to have it used on sidewalks and elsewhere in anticipation of the revision of the Road Traffic Law.

The prototype vehicle is about 110 centimeters long and 70 centimeters wide. It separates spaces for up to three passengers with a 110-centimeter-tall uniquely shaped wooden partition.

It is equipped with a sensor using a laser light and infrared rays to automatically slow down when it detects an obstacle.

The vehicle moved about 50 meters within the premises of a bank in Chuo Ward, Kobe, on Feb. 2 at a speed of 2.5 kph based on map data inputted in advance. The KEPCO subsidiary and others checked how well the passengers got on and off the vehicle and whether they were able to enjoy a smooth ride, among other factors.