The Daily Manila Shimbun


Japan developing snow removal vehicles using self-driving techs

October 21, 2017

TOKYO- Japan's transport ministry will speed up work to develop snow removal vehicles using self-driving technologies for trials on expressways starting this winter, officials have said.

The ministry plans to test the vehicles on other public roads from fiscal 2018, utilizing data from the Michibiki quasi-zenith satellite network for the Japanese version of the Global Positioning System that will become available in April 2018, when the fiscal year begins.

Snow removal vehicles require skilled operators. But concerns are mounting over a shortage of operators due to aging.

In fiscal 2015, those aged over 61 accounted for 19 pct of all snow removal vehicle operators, up from 3 pct in 1998.

Snow removal vehicles mounted with self-driving technologies will detect obstacles with sensors and warn drivers when the vehicles deviate from lanes and approach guardrails.

The ministry hopes to start soon trials on expressways where there are fewer obstacles than other public roads, the officials said.

From fiscal 2018, the ministry will carry out demonstration tests on general public roads with manholes, intersections and pedestrians, the officials also said. Jiji Press