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Japanese city to launch autonomous pods

The micro-mobility service is typically used to transport students and university faculty staff as well as the elderly

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Citizens of Fukuoka will be invited to use the autonomous pods as part of the field trial
Citizens of Fukuoka will be invited to use the autonomous pods as part of the field trial

The Japanese city of Fukuoka is deploying the autonomous DragonFly Pods from robotics and visual intelligence company, PerceptIn

 

The electric low-speed small vehicle (LSE) is typically used as an autonomous mobility service that students, faculty, staff and elderly can hail for free via a mobile application. The DragonFly vehicle will be rolled out within the Hakozaki area of the city in September 2019, when local citizens will be invited to experience the autonomous driving technology.

 

Affordable micro-mobility

 

With the support of The Japan Research Institute, which supports start-ups that make a positive social impact, PerceptIn’s goal is to launch a completely new and affordable micro-mobility service that will reduce the burden on local governments for transportation costs.

 

As part of its partnership with Fukuoka city government and the MIRAI Future Smart City Challenge, PerceptIn will carry out field tests and demonstrations. It is also collaborating with the Fukuoka Directive Council (DC), an industry-academia think-tank.

 

"From serving the country’s rapidly aging population, providing a clean energy transportation option for students to acting as a last-mile service in tourist destination, the DragonFly Pod can solve numerous challenges with transportation costs and efficiencies,” said Shaoshan Liu, founder and CEO of PerceptIn.

The DragonFly Pod is built with computer vision technology and a sensor fusion approach that enables PerceptIn to build the vehicle at an affordable price

“As a small low-speed vehicle, the DragonFly Pod is environmentally friendly and can easily coexist with pedestrians and bicycles, making it ideal for micro-mobility."

 

While general autonomous driving solutions such as LiDAR can be a challenge for small low-speed vehicles in terms of their price and power consumption, the DragonFly Pod is built with computer vision technology and a sensor fusion approach that enables PerceptIn to build the vehicle at an affordable price.

 

"We are delighted to partner with PerceptIn to roll-out the electric low speed vehicle road test at Fukuoka City in 2019,” said Shuhei Ishimaru, director general of Fukuoka DC.

 

“We think this will benefit the residents living in the city. Also, from my perspective, there is a need to bring in this technology to better serve our citizens."

 

PerceptIn’s entrance into the Japanese market comes shortly after their launch of the DragonFly intelligent advertising vehicle, which will be made available for purchase in the US to select customers in the first quarter of 2019 for $40,000. The company is now selecting customers for its self-driving vending machine pilot programme in the US.

 

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