Opposition to autonomous vehicles has focused on concerns that they will be only for the decadent joy of private motorists thus increasing traffic volumes.
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But going anywhere, any time in robotic driving mode is a long way off.
Mobility and freight services, over well-defined routes, may be the first major step.
Toyota is developing an e-Palette autonomous electric vehicles service to provide on-demand transport facilities in the early 2020s.
This will be trialled at Toyota’s Woven City, a prototype city being built in the foothills of Mount Fuji in Japan.
This real-world testing will pave the way for commercial operation in the next few years to deliver goods, services and mobility to people when needed.
It might still be used for private, mechanically chauffeured trips, especially with an ageing population, but shared vehicles and moving freight will be of great benefit to the community.
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