Akihabara News (Tokyo) — All Nippon Airways (ANA) has declared itself to be “the first airline in Japan to use an autonomous vehicle to transport airport employees” after implementing tests at Tokyo Haneda Airport.
The autonomous bus technology has been developed by China-based BYD, and the vehicle can carry up to 57 people. Currently, it can operate at Level 3 autonomous driving, meaning that it can perform driving tasks on its own, but still needs human override in some situations.
ANA Senior Vice-President Masaki Yokai commented, “At ANA, we are constantly looking for ways to harness the latest technology to enhance operations and efficiency. In addition to marking a significant step forward for airports, fully electric autonomous buses will result in fewer emissions and decreased carbon footprints at airports. We are optimistic that these trials will give us the information we need to continue improving these technologies and will allow ANA to maintain its leadership in autonomous innovation.”
ANA is currently promoting a vision for a “Simple & Smart” airport of the future, achieved through the widespread application of sustainable autonomous technology. It aims utilize the autonomous bus technology with passengers by the end of this year, and to fully deploy it by 2025.
SoftBank Boldly and Advanced Smart Mobility are also partners in the project.