The nation’s first vehicle accident involving so-called Level 4 autonomous driving occurred in October due to a failure to visually recognize an object, a local government report said.
The report was released recently by the town of Eiheiji, Fukui Prefecture, where Level 4 driving, or fully automated driving under certain conditions, received approval, the first local government to do so in the country.
The town government plans to improve Level 4 vehicles’ visual recognition performance to prevent any similar accidents.
In the accident in the town on Oct. 29, the autonomous vehicle, traveling at about 4 kilometers per hour, hit a pedal of a parked bicycle. The vehicle detected the crash and made an emergency stop. None of the four passengers were injured.
According to the report, Level 4 vehicles detect obstacles using camera and sensors. The vehicle’s camera failed to recognize the bicycle while the sensor unit recognized it.
A public-private company in Eiheiji started commercial operations of Level 4 vehicles in May. The operations have been suspended since the accident.
The town government aims to resume operations at an early date after the winter suspension of the service until the end of February next year.
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