In Japan, this driverless shuttle bus is helping the elderly in rural communities.
The self-driving buses are being trialled in remote places like Nishikata, where the population is decreasing, public transport options are limited and taxis can be difficult to find, especially for senior residents. If this month's trial is decided to be successful -- apt timing for the Nishikata annual rice harvest -- then vehicles like the six-seater Robot Shuttle could become the norm by 2020 in similar rural areas. The Japanese government would transform existing highway rest stops into hubs where older people could catch a ride to shopping, medical and banking services.
The driverless shuttle bus trial is an example of how autonomous driving technology can benefit large cities and remote rural locations.