According to the Asahi Shimbun, the first driverless car trial on a public road was held in Japan on 1st March 2015, as part of a five-year project that could transform travel in Japan.
Self-navigating vehicles are touted as safer and more efficient.
Kanazawa University (a national university in Japan), which developed the car, and Suzu city government (a local government in Japan), both in Ishikawa Prefecture, are restricting the trials to roads in the city used by normal traffic.
The protracted trials are a first in Japan, and the first day was an success.
During the test, the prototype accelerated to the speed limit of 60 kph and automatically came to a halt after detecting a red traffic signal. It also stopped for pedestrians at intersections.
As the current Road Traffic Law (in Japan) bans driverless cars on public roads, a person was seated behind the steering wheel for the trial. The car accomplished the 1.6-kilometer round trip without mishap.
Self-driving vehicles could be available around 2020. Project team members say the technology offers a viable means of transportation in depopulated areas.
Onboard infrared radar, cameras, artificial intelligence and other devices ensure the vehicle can automatically navigate around obstacles and pedestrians along the route. The tests are being done to accumulate the data necessary to ensure safe driving, such as detecting pedestrians darting out into roads.