As we all know, the race to create the first fully autonomous vehicle is well underway, with almost every automotive company in the running. While US-based brands like Ford and Tesla are interested in creating high-tech cars for the younger generations to enjoy, Japanese automotive company Toyota is taking a different approach, working with Kanazawa University to extensively test an autonomous vehicle in the hopes of helping the growing elderly population retain their independence.
Japan’s Aging Population
With one in four of the country’s citizens over the age of 65, Japan is facing a set of unique social trends and problems. Especially in the countryside, seniors are having a difficult time getting around, unable to drive any longer and without many alternative transportation systems like buses and trains to use for grocery-getting and other necessary travels.
Testing in Suzu
With almost half of its population over the age of 65, Suzu, Japan is one of many sleepy, countryside towns facing a transportation crisis. But for the past few months, a little Toyota Prius has been causing quite a stir in the area.
Inside this test car sits a researcher from Kanazawa University and on top of the roof sits a spinning sensor that helps direct the car’s movements. The country’s first extensive autonomous vehicle test, this project hopes to help the country become the first to have fully-autonomous cars for sale to the public.
While Toyota has not been as open about their autonomous vehicle predictions as companies like Tesla, the Japanese government is funding 16.3 million dollars a year towards autonomous vehicle technologies.
No one can predict exactly when fully autonomous vehicles will be on the road, but it is clear that this day is coming fairly soon. With so many companies working towards the same goal, drivers young and old will be able to sit back and let their vehicle take the wheel in the years to come.
Here at PermaPlate, we are interested to see what changes these new inventions will trigger in the automotive business and in daily life. Regardless of if you are directing your car or it is driving itself, you will want your vehicle to stay well maintained. From windshield protection to paintless dent repair, we offer a wide range of automotive protection products to keep your vehicle looking like new.