In the railway industry, where users are declining due to the effects of the new coronavirus, there is a growing movement to consider introducing autonomous driving in order to reduce costs and prepare for future driver shortages.
Of these, the "Tobu Railway" is planning to carry out a trial automatic operation after 2023 on the "Daishi Line" that runs about 1 km in Adachi Ward, Tokyo.
For the first time in a major private railway, it aims to operate with only one unqualified occupant, which is the second level of international automation standards after unmanned autonomous driving.
As the number of users decreases significantly due to the impact of the new coronavirus, the company wants to examine safety issues in the future with the aim of reducing costs and preparing for a future shortage of drivers.
"The trend of railway use is changing due to the influence of the new coronavirus, and the introduction of autonomous driving is an urgent issue. I would like to consider the best method in terms of safety," said Tatsuki Kobayashi, chief of operation.
JR East introduced automatic railway operation on the Joban Line in March, and JR West also conducted a running test on the Osaka Loop Line last year, and there is a growing movement to consider introducing it.