Japan to create legal framework for level 4 self-driving cars

Japan’s National Police Agency is set to create a permitting system for the use of level 4 self-driving cars for transportation services in rural areas, Nikkei has learned.

Level 4 self-driving vehicles operate completely autonomously in certain conditions. A bill amending the road traffic law will be submitted to the ordinary Diet session next spring. If approved, the road to practical use of level 4 self-driving cars will be open for the first time in Japan.

Authorities are considering applying the permitting system for buses operating on designated routes in depopulated areas. Under the plan, prefectural public safety commissions will examine operators’ plans and grant permission for them to offer automated transportation services.

The government aims to put level 4 automated driving systems to practical use in areas, aimed mainly at elderly passengers, by the end of the fiscal year ending in March 2023, expanding them to more than 40 locations nationwide by around 2025.