Tokyo is famous for having a complex rail network. At the center of the railway network is the Yamanote line with a circular route. An automatic driving test began on this route that 28 million people use in a week.
Boot off the departure button
Railroads are easier to introduce automatic driving than cars, and automatic operation is widely adopted in new transportation systems. However, during congestion it is unusual to introduce automatic operation on the trains operated every 3 minutes.
Manned Driving Yamanote Line
In early January, JR East, which operates the Yamanote line, conducted piloted automatic driving vehicles outside business hours. Although the driver was in the driver’s seat during the exam, he just pushed the departure button. Nevertheless, it proved that some degree of driving is possible, and JR East will try to challenge unmanned operation in future.
Unknown when to introduce
Several troubles have occurred, such as a train stopping at a place not supposed in this exam. In addition, driver’s intuition is also necessary to adjust the distance to the preceding vehicle, and how to incorporate it into the system also remains a problem. Therefore, the introduction timing of automatic driving vehicles is undecided at this time.
If it is proved that automatic operation is possible with the Yamanote line which is one of the most frequent routes of users, automatic driving will be taken in one line at a stroke in Japan. The results of this exam are gaining great attention.