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Driverless taxi start-up eyes partnerships with automakers

By Naomi Tajitsu

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The Japanese government pledged late last year to ease regulations to allow for self-driving cars to be tested on more public roads.

Yeah right. Hard to imagine the government making anything easier in an industry that employs thousands upon thousands of people and keeps the unemployment rate artificially low.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

So a guy comes for the olympics,and he's in a driverless cab and it hits someone. Are the cops gunna arrest him? I bet they will here.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The sooner our roads are permeated by self-driving cars, the better.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Marcelito, that's a valid point. But here is what's going to happen:

1 Taxi companies decide to fire their taxi drivers.

2 Taxi drivers get upset.

3 Taxi companies don't care. They've decreased their overhead by using robot taxis.

4 Taxi drivers unions and lobbyists change their tune about Uber and become Uber drivers.

5 Competition.

6 ?

7 Profit (for which side?)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Personally I wouldn't get into a driver-less taxi; just today there was an item on the news about a Google driver-less car in a minor collision. Shouldn't happen! And if you scale it up to thousands of vehicles on the road, how many accidents will occur? And yes, how many taxi drivers will be out of work?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

just today there was an item on the news about a Google driver-less car in a minor collision.

The fact that this was news, shows how rare it is. Regular car accidents happen in the thousands every day, so much that they don't make the news.

So you'd rather get into a drivered car, that has more accidents, than a driverless car, that has less. Ok.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Wow, I always enjoy having a polite conversation with any taxi I take here in Japan. Who will I talk to in a car that has no driver? It's expensive to hail a taxi in Japan and has been for a long time, but what might a short ride cost here ... at least before the meter changes its price? Any thoughts everyone?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Good Forward thinking for a market like Japan where there will be a huge shortage of taxi drivers in the next 10-15 years.

Those worried about taxi drivers getting laid off should remember that a majority of taxi drivers here are in their 50s and 60s. They get paid poorly work long irregular hours, something the younger generation is not interested in doing.

Right move at the right time, me thinks.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What happens when I tell the robot I have to get out to take a whizz after drinking too much beer?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@mocheake - in Kanagawa, it's usually the taxi drivers you see emptying themselves at the side of the road, not the passengers!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Should we assume that the software firms will take full responsibility in case of an accident as well? At the end it is the software that tells the hardware what to do. How about moral decisions? Sacrifice the passenger instead of causing more casualties in an accident.

I think driverless cars are in humans' future but not anytime soon.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I would like to see them add solar powered engines to the self drive cars; then we'll be able to have limitless transportation anywhere in Japan at a fraction of the cost. It will also encourage people not to drink and drive. Think about it. Almost no overhead cost. taxi rides could then be as cheap as the trains.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I was thinking about how this would work. I was worried about how to make sure a fare didn't jump out of the cab. Ideally these vehicles should run on a creditcard/prepaid/ or debit card system that requires the fare to insert the card from the beginning and then eject the card back to the fare once the destination is reached.

@Tony W. You're behind the times. The collision wasn't the fault of the automated system, but the fault of a driver behind the wheel making a bad decision and bumped into the driverless car. For a fact, with all the programming and development that has been going into these types of vehicles for over 15+ years, driverless cars are drastically safer than drivers that run red lights, cut off other cars, distracted by texing, phone calls, falling asleep at the wheel, elderly, etc.

I think they'll still need taxi "drivers" behind the wheel for a variety of concerns like the vehicle breaking down, replacing spare tires, filling up with gas, vandals, and detecting people hailing the taxi in the first place.


0 ( +0 / -0 )

How many thousands of taxi drivers are going to be out of work? oh you mean all those Japanese geriatric drivers that shouldnt even be allowed to have a licence let alone drive. Id certainly prefer to put my safety in a computer over a incompetent human driver anydays .

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"Where am I?" "You're in a Johnnycab." I want to start a robot cab company that has various theme "drivers", like talking velociraptors, or totoro. This is the wave of the future!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This is a bad idea, just like Google Glass. How does a computer decide who should live and who should die in the situation an avoidance maneuver is required?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

How does a computer decide who should live and who should die in the situation an avoidance maneuver is required?

It decides based on the algorithms under which it is created. It's up to us as society to determine what the rules should be, so that the cars can then be programmed with those algorithms.

But ignoring that, you seem to be saying that it's better to have people driving cars, than have computers driving cars. Does that really make sense though? Lets say that given the exact same driving conditions over a period of time, you'll have 10 accident related deaths by humans, but only one by cars. Do you really think it's better to ban self driving cars just because that one death was caused by a program, rather than a human? Is it really better to have 10 human caused deaths than one computer caused death?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

When you got to get home on the cheap at 2am and drunk, you won't care what is driving. Guaranteed that you won't be obsessing about that zillion to one chance of the computer screwing up. Worried that one of these cars might drive off a cliff just to avoid a stupid dog? Well, then don't take one on a mountain road. Then the worst case being driven in the middle of town is your car hitting a telephone pole while you are safe with your seatbelt on- on top of the car applying the brakes instantly to slow down the crash considerably with precision control. No sweat. All aboard!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

self drivng cars are coming like them or not, when the tech is much improved the crash rates will be much lower than human driver, and insurance premiums will mean human drivers will be of higher risk and need to pay more. There will come a day when people will look at other people driving cars as selfish for adding higher risks to the roads.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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