The government regards autonomous driving as a key item in its growth strategy, aiming to put self-driving cars into practical use before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. As the industry is expanding, the NPA has received many inquiries about what permission is needed for self-driving car tests. Clarifying the guidelines is seen as helping more venture companies enter into the autonomous driving business and support the development of related technologies. Under the guidelines, those planning to test autonomous driving vehicles are urged to conduct driving tests at experimental facilities before moving on to public roads.
Public road tests should be conducted in stages, starting with places that have few pedestrians, the guidelines said. Also, a passenger is required inside the car along with the driver, while partner vehicles should accompany the car with a sign affixed to that car’s body informing other motorists of the tests. In addition, the guidelines call for having drivers confirm in writing that they are responsible for any accident. The experimental cars must also sound warnings when they shift to autonomous driving. Also requested are cybersecurity measures to protect the test vehicles and full recording and storage of the test-driving data.