All Nippon Airways (ANA) has started trials of an autonomous electric bus at Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport in Japan.

The trial started on 22 January and will run until 31 January. It is being carried out in collaboration with SB Drive, Advanced Smart Mobility and BYD.

In 2018, ANA partnered with SB Drive for driverless bus trials where SB Drive delivered the advanced ‘Dispatcher’ technology designed to detect obstacles.

For the trial, the bus will travel the same 1.9km route in the airport’s restricted area many times. The trial will assess the vehicle’s conditional automation performance with little human monitoring.

Real-world scenarios will be used for the trial. Based on the success of the trial, ANA will begin the use of the autonomous electric buses at the airport by the end of the year.

ANA senior executive vice-president Shinzo Shimizu said: “ANA is committed to actively embracing the most innovative technology to improve all aspects of the passenger travel experience.

“Once fully implemented, the autonomous electric bus will allow us to provide a more convenient transit experience for our passengers while also improving efficiency for our airport staff. As sustainability has always been a priority for ANA, we will continue looking for opportunities to make our products and services more eco-friendly.”

Last October, ANA expanded the trials for self-driving wheelchairs at Tokyo-Narita International Airport in Japan. The wheelchairs aim to assist passengers in navigating the airport.

Meanwhile, Japan Airlines partnered with Japan Airport Terminal (JAT) to test WHILL’s self-navigating electric wheelchairs at Haneda Airport.

Trials commenced last November at the airport’s Terminal 1 south wing.