Self-driving taxis are hitting Japan's roads next year

Robot Taxi

We're one step closer to self-driving cars becoming a norm on the streets, with Japanese company Robot Taxi set to begin testing its self-driving taxis next year.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Robot Taxi will begin offering its taxis to about 50 people in the Kanagawa prefecture, which sits just south of Tokyo, during a limited trial period.

The taxis will be charged with taking people to and from their houses to grocery stores, but there will also be a crew member on board in case of any possible problems.

Robot Taxi's cars will travel about 2 miles (3kms) at a time throughout the main streets of the city.

A self-driving future

While Google, Uber and others have been ramping up trials for their own self-driving car, if the trial in Japan runs successfully, Robot Taxi is hoping to have its self-driving taxis operational by 2020.

Robot Taxi is looking to offer its taxis to international and local travellers, and also for locals in areas where public transport like buses or trains aren't available.

But it looks like the company is also looking to mobilise Japan's ageing population as well, with Robot Taxi's video showing an elderly couple using the self-driving taxi.

You can check out the Robot Taxi in action in the video below.