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Japan Invented a RoboCab Because of Course They Did

Fasten your seatbelts: unmanned taxis are coming to Japan.

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Starting next year, Kanagawa prefecture just south of Tokyo will offer driverless cab services to 50 lucky residents, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The creatively named Robot Taxi, Inc. is a joint venture between mobile internet company DeNA Co. and vehicle technology developer ZMP, Inc., which aims to commercialize the service by 2020, just in time for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, reports Bloomberg.

For the moment, the robot cabs will drive passengers on a preselected three-kilometer route from their homes to local grocery stores, taking major avenues for a portion of the trip. Crew members will also be onboard to ensure the safety of these trial runs.

Unmanned vehicles, the company says, may help to facilitate transport in areas where buses and trains aren't available. The whole project is part of a push from the government to encourage Japanese innovation as well as foster the country's startup community.

[Top photo via Bloomberg]

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