Flowers and magnetic markers in Nagano

Nagano is another prefecture where there has been a lot of automated driving experimentation announced recently. Especially of note is the Minami Alps Mura Hase roadside station, where tests are due to begin in Autumn 2017 along a 6.9km course up to the Senryusou resort hotel and back, using GPS and sensors (and hopefully some […]


Tochigi: LRT, roadside stations and retrofitting

Tochigi prefecture has announced details about automated driving tests to take place around its Nishikata “roadside station”. According to an article in the Shimotsuke Online News, the tests will take place from Sep 3 to Sep 9, in a short 1.5km loop around the roadside station with four stops along the way. The vehicle platform […]


Shizuoka: Suzuki teams up with Softbank

Separate to the recent wave of Ministry of Transport-designated “roadside station” testing, in September 2016 the Japanese carmaker Suzuki decided to announce a standalone automated driving test to take place in late 2018 in the prefectural capital Hamamatsu’s Shounai area (pop: 586) which lacks any public transportation. Similar to the recent announcements in Fukuoka, it […]


Fukuoka: hyper-small villages and automated fruit transport

Short update for Fukuoka that new automated driving tests will begin on a 5km stretch of road between the citrus-picking area of Ichinoki, and the Ichikawa town hall representative office at the local “roadside station”. Location of the test: the small village of Miyama (population: 103). Period: from September 2nd through September 9th. I think […]


Hiroshima’s automated buses and V2X

My first trip to the Hiroshima area was with my mother back in 2001 and memorable for three things: the Torii gate at Miyajima, the massive okonomiyaki omelette dinner we had in the evening and the long trek up the hill to the Hiroshima City youth hostel with a heavy backpack. It was a whirlwind […]


Mie’s G7 Summit and the 2020 Olympics challenge

About a year ago in May 2016, Japan was showcasing its automated driving technology to the world at the Iseshima G7 Summit in Mie Prefecture. This was the first truly high-level showcase of its technologies since the Tokyo ITS World Congress in 2013, where sleek automated buses shuttled visitors around on predefined routes. It was […]


Tokushima: self-driving tourism and supermarkets

Nestled in the southeastern corner of the island of Shikoku, Tokushima is well known for its summer festival Awa-odori dancing but may now become famous for staging the first automated drive tests in Shikoku. Back in February 2014, a local 48 yr old asked Tokushima government via their open opinions internet page whether they planned […]


Toyama and Uber experimentation

According to a joint 2014 paper by Kyoto and Toyama Universities, Toyama is the Japanese prefecture with the highest prevalence of vehicle usage to get from A to B (82.3%), and conversely with the lowest usage (1.7%) of public transport of any kind. Possibly for this reason Toyama has been the location for a number […]


Automated mobility mix for Shiga

Located in the center of the main island of Honshu, Shiga is a landlocked prefecture surrounding the renowned Biwako lake. Due to its strategic position at the intersection of traffic from Kyoto/Osaka to its immediate west, and traffic coming from the East and Tokyo, during the middle ages the area was the stage of incessant […]