technology

SB Drive testing the waters in Tottori

Headed north from Akagi Kougen and then continuing along the Sea of Japan, in three to four hours you’ve arrived in Tottori where a consortium of tech companies are showing the way in what could be an end-to-end self-driving logistics system for automated buses. SB Drive, a subsidiary of Japanese IT conglomerate Softbank created as […]

technology

Shimane roadside testing starting this summer

Travellers headed east and north from Yamaguchi soon arrive into Shimane Prefecture, where automated driving efforts are focused on the Akagi Kogen Michinoeki (or local roadside stations that we covered in a previous post). This Michinoeki was designated by the Ministry of Land and Transport as one of 5 locations nationwide to test basic concepts […]

technology

Yamaguchi: Hub and Spokes Mobility

As we continue our journey around Japan, just North of the island of Kyushu lies the prefecture of Yamaguchi. It is famous for being the birthplace of no fewer than 8 Prime Ministers of Japan, including current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. It also has a deeply rural economy, meaning a quickly aging population, difficulty to […]

technology

Temple tourism in Fukui

Moving out of Kyushu and into Fukui Prefecture on the main island of Honshu, where local government has decided to setup an automated shuttle service taking tourists from the closest train station up to the famous Eiheiji Temple 6km away. The road has been cleaned up and prepared to allow for pedestrians (tourists, pilgrims etc) […]

technology

Supporting Kagoshima trams (and other urban light transport)

While popular in many European capitals, the introduction of trams and other light public transport in Japan’s cities outside the largest population centers has proven difficult. These numbers from already 5 years ago in 2012 show the profitability of trams across Japan is rather poor and with a decreasing population, meaning less passengers, the situation […]

technology

Michinoeki as automated driving hubs in Southern Japan

As automated driving slowly becomes a reality, the regions of Japan are looking into adapting their infrastructure to support the arrival of this new form of mobility. One area of interest has been the Michinoeki, or “roadside stations”. This network was started up in 1991 by the MInistry of Land and Transport out of a […]

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Oita automated driving buses

Continuing our journey through Kyushu, the Oita prefecture with its many hot springs is the next prefecture to start experimenting with automated driving. Little surprise on the reason behind it: to support the less mobile who need to get from A to B and may soon not be able to drive themselves. Starting this August, […]

technology

Fukuoka looks to Future Mobility

The island of Kyushu is home to 14.5 million Japanese, and according to the Japan Center for Economic Research, is expected to experience a population drop of 3,000,000 by 2040. In order to improve future mobility in the region, a “Smart Mobility Promotion Consortium” has been setup around Kyushu University to promote experimentation with new […]

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Automated Driving Tests in Okinawa

Let’s start our tour of the regions down in Okinawa, the southernmost prefecture of Japan. Last year I organized a family trip down to the islands of Ishigaki and Haterumajima far from the main Okinawan island of Okinawa Honto. On Haterumajima we rented a car to navigate the tiny island in the scorching heat so […]

technology

Automated Driving in the Regions

I believe that in ten years’ time, by 2027, automated driving will be the norm. The seething metropolises of Tokyo, Shanghai, Delhi and Lagos will be developing the mobility ecosystems of the future. Yet Japan faces rapidly aging population, continued population migration from rural areas to the cities, and dwindling local tax revenues. For that […]