With any luck, we might be able to see this awesome autonomous public transport quite soon.

Despite popular Japanese retailer Muji boasting a long history of selling stylish minimalist consumer goods, the company is not afraid of trying out fresh concepts, like its quirky box-like Muji Hut, for example.

Now, Muji is venturing into the autonomous vehicle industry with what is known as the Gacha Shuttle Bus (working name). Loosely resembling a Gacha capsule due to its round form and dual-tone color scheme, the bus comes with ten seats and enough room for six people to stand, accommodating a total of 16 passengers.

▼ This self-driving 4WD Gacha Shuttle Bus can reach up to 40 kilometers per hour.

From the LED light belts run along the curved exterior of the vehicle, to the simple communication screens and the round benches installed within, the cute all-weather bus would look like an oversized toy rolling lazily down the street.

Finland’s traffic laws, which state that vehicles need not always have a human driver, are conducive for performing self-driving experiments. Collaborating with Finland’s renowned autonomous driving research company Sensible 4, Muji is scheduled to manufacture a prototype in March 2019 and spend the first half of the year extensively testing road conditions in Helsinki. Whether it be rain, sun or snow, the electric Gacha Shuttle Bus can be expected to continue delivering passengers to their destinations safely.

▼ The vehicle would be the first self-driving bus
in the world suited for extreme weather.

If successful, the Gacha Shuttle Bus will serve as public transport as early as 2020 in the Finnish cities of Espoo, Vantaa and Hämeenlinna. Given that Japan is currently working hard to craft new legislation that governs the use of self-driving vehicles, perhaps we might even get to see cute Gacha buses shuttling people around during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Source: Ryohin Keikaku, Sensible 4Dezeen
Images: Ryohin Keikaku

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