The Mitsubishi Corporation has set up a joint venture company that will use artificial intelligence (AI) to control on-demand bus services in Japan.
The new company, called Next Mobility, has been established by Mitsubishi and the Nishi-Nippon Railroad Company, a major Japanese bus operator.
The joint venture will start a one-year trial in April at Island City, in the Higashi-ward of Fukuoka City.
In a statement Wednesday, Mitsubishi said that the AI would be used to automatically generate routes, in real time, based on passenger requests that are made through a smartphone app.
Deep learning will be used to collate "operational data" on both traffic conditions and passenger destinations. This, Mitsubishi added, would help buses to run in a more efficient way the more they are used.
The project is being sponsored by Nissan, whose Nissan Caravans will be used in the pilot. The vehicles will be driven by taxi drivers from the Fukuoka Nishitetsu Taxi company.
New innovations and ideas are slowly but surely changing the way people move around.
In February, for example, it was announced that an electric vehicle with AI sensors and computers would embark on a 1,200 kilometer (745 mile), three-month journey in Queensland, Australia.
The zero-emissions Renault ZOE will map roads in the state, which is in the northeast of the country. Researchers from the Queensland University of Technology, which is based in Brisbane, will man the car.
"As researchers drive the car across Queensland, onboard sensors will build a virtual map to help refine AI-equipped vehicles to drive safely on our roads," Mark Bailey, Queensland's minister for Transport and Main Roads, said at the time.