Japan Planning Self-Driving Service for Olympics

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June 6, 2018—A self-driving service could be on Tokyo’s public roads in time for the 2020 Olympics, as Japan seeks to drive investment in autonomous vehicle technology, according to a government strategic review announcement.

The strategy, presented recently by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, includes plans to allow the development of virtual power plants by March 2022.

According to a report by, the proposals are part of a larger package of fiscal economic policies that the Japanese government plans to formulate by the end of the month. The review said the government plans to begin testing a driverless car system on public roads sometime this year, with the goal of launching a self-driving car service by the outset of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

After that, the Japanese government would likely attempt to commercialize the self-driving system as early as 2022. Economists believe autonomous vehicle and artificial intelligence technologies could help Japanese businesses cope with an aging and declining workforce. However, Japanese companies have struggled to keep pace with U.S., Chinese, and European counterparts in implementing such technology into their work practices so far, the report noted.

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