Toyota Motor Corp and the Japan Federation of Hire-Taxi Associations (JFHTA) have entered into a memorandum of understanding for the development of autonomous driving technologies.
They hope to address the particular needs of taxis, aiming to introduce a new vehicle targeted at taxi operators by 2017.
The car maker and the Japan Federation of Hire-Taxi Associations have been long time partners and hope to leverage their respective know-how and data access to design Japan's future autonomous taxi fleets.
The two parties hope to popularize taxis with universal design principles (such as wide-opening doors, a low floor) that can easily be used by all, drawing up vehicle specifications to enhance their hospitality, safety, and convenience for both customers and drivers while providing services in multiple languages.
The taxis are expected to leverage future automated driving technologies, catering to an increasingly diversified groups of drivers, including the elderly and foreigners.
Toyota aims to collect data such as traffic conditions and road environments from more than 200,000 taxis operating in Japan.
Analysing this data could accelerate the development of ADAS (advanced driver assistance system) and more convenient human-machine interfaces for autonomous driving, in line of Toyota's Mobility Teammate Concept.
The goal is to provide taxi drivers with more convenient taxis that automate part of their driving operations and services.
The company may also use vehicle big data from Japan and other countries to deploy new services such as car insurances.
Article was originally posted on EE Times Europe.