Honda is determined to develop autonomous vehicles to compete with Tesla in the global automotive market. To that end, Honda signed a memorandum of understanding with a company in Japan to develop an autonomous taxi service in Tokyo.
The two companies are the Teito Motor Transport Company and Kokusai. The memorandum of understanding is to design and run a mobility program in Japan. Apart from focusing on autonomous transportation, this unit also has the additional task of dealing with urban congestion, traffic safety, and emissions.
From the memorandum of understanding, it is hoped that autonomous mobility services will be launched in downtown Tokyo by the middle of this decade. The three companies will study local regulations and observe how best to distribute responsibilities across different partners.
Honda plans to use Cruise Origin for its autonomous taxi service. Cruise Origin was co-developed with General Motors and lacks a steering wheel, pedals and other components that humans need to drive a car.
The collaborative project in Japan follows similar programs in cities across the United States. Cruise runs an autonomous taxi program in San Francisco and other areas.