Japan’s cabinet office, Kanagawa prefecture and Robot Taxi Inc. on Thursday said they will start experimenting with unmanned taxi service beginning in 2016. The service will be offered for approximately 50 people in Kanagawa prefecture, just south of Tokyo, with the auto-driving car carrying them from their homes to local grocery stores.
According to the project organizers, the cabs will drive a distance of about three kilometers (two miles), and part of the course will be on major avenues in the city. Crew members will be aboard the car during the experiment in case there is a need to avoid accidents.
Going out of Singapore again! And this time to Japan. This coming week I’ll be spending most of my time in Tokyo and probably doing some sightseeing. I haven’t got a concrete plan but I’m sure I’ll get by fine.
Despite a slight uptick in the fertility rate in 2010, Japan’s population just keeps on falling. The country’s population decline last year was the worst since the government started keeping records in 1899.
The number of deaths minus births came to 125,700, surpassing the 100,000 threshold for the first time, according to Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. There have been more deaths than births in Japan for four years in a row now, making the country a demographic time bomb and a laboratory for the rest of the world when it comes to aging.
The ministry said the nation’s birthrate stood at 1.39 in 2010, up 0.02 percentage point for fourth straight year of gains. But the birthrate has stayed well below the ratio of 4.54 and 2.16 compared with the baby booms in 1947 and 1971, respectively. None too encouraging. And consider this statistic: according to Kathy Matsui at Goldman Sachs, there are more pets in Tokyo than children under the age of 14. [Source: WSJ]
Is procreation the ultimate goal for a civilization?