BYD completed a 10-day trial operation of an autonomous driving bus earlier this month at Tokyo Haneda Airport. BYD partnered with All Nippon Airways (ANA), which is Japan’s largest airline, to complete the trial operation. The bus is BYD’s first autonomous-driving bus. The next step is to put it into full operation on a daily basis.
The airline envisions a “Simple & Smart” airport, and this is a significant step towards that goal. With the autonomous BYD bus in actual operation, the Haneda Airport will be Japan’s first international airport to conduct the pilot operation of an autonomous bus.
The autonomous bus, a BYD K9, can carry up to 57 people. The level of autonomy that will be used in the coming, more involved trial operation is nearly “Level 3” autonomous driving. Airport staff will be using the bus in a specific area of the airport. This is to collect data that will help the developers better improve the autonomous driving functions while improving the bus’s operating efficiency in the future.
The project is jointly carried out by ANA, BYD, BOLDLY, and Advanced Smart Mobility. This group has already conducted three rounds of tests between 2018 and 2020. ANA plans for these buses to now be put into full trial operation this year.
“At ANA, we are constantly looking for ways to harness the latest technology to enhance operations and efficiency,” said Masaki Yokai, Senior Vice President of ANA. “In addition to marking a significant step forward for airports, fully electric autonomous buses will result in fewer emissions and decreased carbon footprints at airports. We are optimistic that these trials will give us the information we need to continue improving these technologies and will allow ANA to maintain its leadership in autonomous innovation.”
General Manager of BYD Asia-Pacific Auto Sales Division, Liu Xueliang, spoke of how honored BYD is to partner with ANA. “BYD is very honored to join hands with ANA to carry out this comprehensive autonomous driving test trial at the Haneda Airport. I firmly believe that this four-party cooperation will set an excellent example for a smart and environmentally friendly airport of Japan to give people a smarter, safer, and cleaner travel experience in the future.”
BYD has been gaining trust and recognition in Japan thanks to its many cleantech products. The company’s buses are in service in many cities in Japan such as Kyoto, Okinawa, Fukushima, Iwate, Yamanashi, Tokyo, and Nagasaki. We have written many stories about BYD electric buses, electric cars, and other green tech for years.