It’s one thing to be an elder who no longer drives and live in city where public transportation is plentiful. It’s another to have your self-driving days be over and live in a rural area, where transportation options are limited. This report from Reuters looks at one possible solution: an experimental robot (driverless) van program in a small community in Japan. “Smaller towns in Japan are graying even faster than cities, and there are just not enough workers to operate buses and taxis,” says the sponsor of the program.

This is but one example of a trend we’ll likely see repeated in the future: As larger numbers of people grow older and need services, there will be a shortage of humans to provide those services. Robots and artificial intelligence to the rescue!

Driverless shuttle vans aren’t just for rural areas, of course. French company EasyMile (its system is being used in the Japan experiment) has a number of driverless shuttles in operation around the world. Check out the video above of its system in operation in Lausanne, Switzerland.


Further reading:
Japan trials driverless cars in bid to keep rural elderly on the move
Reuters
September 12, 2017