10 Nov 2013

PM rides around Tokyo in self-drive car

6:59 am on 10 November 2013

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan took a ride in several self-driving vehicles on public roads in Tokyo on Saturday, showcasing the technology.

Mr Abe tried auto-piloting vehicles from Toyota, Honda and Nissan on the roads around the National Diet Building, where the Tokyo Motor Show will this month feature self-driving technology, as well as electric vehicles and other models.

International auto makers are competing with Google and other technology firms to develop new types of cars with the goal of helping reduce accidents by eradicating human error.

"I felt with my body that the Japanese technology is the world's best," Mr Abe said after riding the vehicles.

Auto makers have previously tested self-driving vehicles on highways that offer better driving conditions and with no pedestrians.

Mr Abe has pledged to help advance auto-piloting technology as part of his economic policy, as well as measures that encourage various technological innovation and investment.