All Nippon Airways (ANA) is conducting trials for an autonomous electric bus in collaboration with SoftBank Corp. subsidiary SB Drive Corp., Advanced Smart Mobility and BYD.
The trial, at Haneda International Airport, began on January 22 and runs until January 31.
“Once fully implemented, the autonomous electric bus will enable 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,” said Shinzo Shimizu, senior executive vice president of ANA.
ANA and SB Drive began trials of the driverless bus in 2018, with SB Drive providing the advanced ‘Dispatcher’ technology that oversees safety functions by monitoring for obstacles and potential hazards. ANA selected a specific course for the trial, with the bus set to travel the same 1.9km (1.18 mile) segment of restricted area in Haneda Airport multiple times throughout the testing period. During the test, the bus will be evaluated based on its ability to perform the conditional automation with little human oversight.
As safety is the top priority, the tests are specifically designed to replicate common real-world scenarios. If testing proceeds as projected, ANA plans to implement the autonomous electric buses at Haneda International Airport by the end of this year.