TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took a ride in several self-driving vehicles on the public roads in the capital on Saturday, showcasing the technology ahead of the Tokyo Motor Show.
Mr Abe tried auto-piloting vehicles from Toyota, Honda and Nissan on the roads around Japan's National Diet Building, as major international automakers compete with the likes of Google and other tech firms to develop new types of cars with the goal of helping to reduce accidents by eradicating human error.
"I felt with my body that the Japanese technology is the world's best," Mr Abe told reporters after riding the vehicles. It was the first time that auto-piloting vehicles have run on ordinary roads in Japan.
Automakers have previously tested self-driving vehicles on highways that offer better driving conditions, and no pedestrians. The Tokyo Motor Show, slated for later this month, will feature the self-driving technologies, as well as electric vehicles and other models.
Mr Abe has pledged to help advance auto-piloting technology as part of his economic policy, in addition to measures encouraging various technological innovations, investments and to attract foreign talents to work in Japan.