Japanese flag carrier All Nippon Airways is trailing autonomous electric buses at Haneda International airport.
The trial, in collaboration with SoftBank subsidiary SB Drive, Advanced Smart Mobility and BYD, began on January 22 and will last until January 31.
ANA said as safety is its top priority the new buses will be assessed against high performance standards and the tests have been designed to replicate common real-world scenarios.
If testing proceeds as projected, ANA plans to implement the autonomous electric buses at HND by the end of this year.
“ANA is committed to actively embracing the most innovative technology to improve all aspects of the passenger travel experience,” said Shinzo Shimizu, Senior Executive Vice President of ANA.
“Once fully implemented, the autonomous electric bus will allow us to provide a more convenient transit experience for our passengers while also improving efficiency for our airport staff. As sustainability has always been a priority for ANA, we will continue looking for opportunities to make our products and services more eco-friendly.”
ANA and SB Drive first began trials for the driverless bus in 2018, with SB Drive “dispatcher” technology overseeing the safety functions by monitoring for obstacles and potential hazards.
The bus travels the same 1.9km (1.18 miles) segment of restricted area in HND multiples times throughout the testing period. During the test the bus will be evaluated on its ability to perform the conditional automation with little human oversight.
ANA wishes to “improve passenger convenience and comfort” as well as “embrace the latest technological advancements in the aviation and airline industry” with the implementation of the autonomous electric bus.