A minibus decorated with All Nippon Airways Co.’s signature blue and white logo motors across the tarmac at Tokyo’s Haneda airport. From the outside, it looks like an ordinary bus, with a person sitting in the driver’s seat — except no one is really operating the vehicle.

Reporters got a glimpse Tuesday of an autonomous airport bus experiment in progress. It is part of Japan’s first series of experiments on automatic vehicle-control systems designed to carry passengers within an airport’s restricted zone.

The project at Haneda is being developed by six companies, including ANA, NEC Corp. and Aichi Steel Corp.

The move to go autonomous comes at a time when Japan is grappling with a shrinking labor force amid rising tourist numbers from abroad.

As more flights are expected to arrive at and depart from Haneda in the coming years, the goal is to effectively and efficiently carry out operations for the ground crew, said Tadakatsu Yamaguchi, an ANA official.

Those tasks include moving passengers between aircraft and terminals as well as unloading and loading their luggage.

Read More…

error:

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This