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Future Cars

Delivery company to trial self-driving vans in Japan

Forget delivery drones: A postal service in Japan is hoping to use self-driving cars.

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DeNA

Self-driving cars are the future, so why not use them to do our bidding?

Yamato, a postal service in Japan, is hoping to do just that, as the company will next year trial self-driving delivery vehicles. It's partnering with IT company DeNA for the project, dubbed Roboneko Yamato.

Roboneko Yamato will start its trial in March 2017. The testing phase will last a year, and will use two models of self-driving vehicles.

While other major delivery companies, such as DHL, have given considerable thought to implementing a self-driving delivery service, no company has as of yet made movements to get autonomous vehicles on the road. Similar projects involving automated delivery robots have been implemented, such as California-based Dispatch, but this is the first time self-driving delivery vans have been developed.

Two types of delivery service will be put through the ringer during the trial: an "on-demand delivery service", best suited for luggage and moving bigger furniture and appliances; and a "shopping agency service" that is more geared towards online shopping orders and scheduling their arrival at the home. The on-demand delivery service will also have tracking via phone.