Kansai Electric Power is planning to provide “iino”, a self-driving urban mobility service. “iino” is a short-distance public transportation service with self-driven vehicles that circulate an urban area at low speed and allows passengers to get on and off freely without restricted by predetermined timetable or stops. Thus, “iino” will be provided as a unique transportation service, different from bus, taxi, and train. To accomplish this project, Kansai Electric Power seeks a potential partner with an excellent self-driving technology who can participate in the demonstration project, which has been planned jointly with multiple local governments.
In this project, it is assumed that vehicles will smoothly avoid surrounding pedestrians, bicycles and other obstructions on public roads and on sidewalks in a compact city. Therefore, the driving environment is more complex than expressways and control simply based on proximity sensors is not sufficient to achieve the smooth avoidance, regardless of the driving speed will be as low as 4 to 6 km/h. The client thinks technology other than proximity sensors, e.g. technology to recognize and identify objects, predict their behavior, and autonomously choose appropriate route based on analysis of camera images and/or other data on surrounding situation might be required.
Development of self-driving technology has been widely conducted, aiming at various purposes, from cars to last mile delivery, package delivery, and in-warehouse transportation. In order to identify an excellent potential partner interested in conducting a demonstration with local governments, Kansai Electric Power has issued this open request to a wide range of companies and universities around the world engaged in R&D of related technology.