When we think of automated driving, it is self-driving cars that first spring to mind. However, in Japan, where the railway network covers the whole country, automated driverless railways have recently become a hot topic. For example, one year ago a self-driving railway vehicle was tested on the Yamanote Line which connects major stations in Tokyo such as Tokyo Station, Shibuya Station, and Shinjuku Station, and drew much attention.
Autonomous driving seems like a new technology, but its history is surprisingly long. The world’s first automated unmanned railway was Kobe New Transit’s Port Liner which commenced operations in 1981. Although nearly 30 years have passed since then, automatic railways are not spreading. There is a reason for this.
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