Japanese firms Toyota and Softbank plan to launch an on-demand ride-sharing service.
A trial run of the new service, called Monet Technologies, starts on Tuesday. About 80 people who work in Tokyo are taking part in the month-long test. They'll use a smartphone app to reserve rides for their daily commute.
Groups of up to four people will share the same van, which comes with Wi-Fi and individual desks.
Feedback from the trial run will be used in developing an AI-program that dispatches vehicles efficiently.
By the second half of the 2020s, Monet plans to roll out Autono-MaaS (autonomous mobility as a service) businesses using e-Palette, Toyota's dedicated battery electric vehicle for mobility services that can be used for various purposes, including mobility, logistics, and sales. Possibilities include demand-focused just-in-time mobility services, such as meal deliveries vehicle where food is prepared while on the move, hospital shuttles where onboard medical examinations can be performed, mobile offices, and many more. MONET also intends to roll out these businesses in Japan with an eye to future expansion on the global market.
Monet Technologies plans to launch the service using self-driving vehicles as soon as 2023.
The name "MONET" combines the first letters of the words “mobility network,” and was chosen to embody the desire of both companies to build a mobility network that provides safer and more comfortable mobility to everyone.