According to Reuters, Japan intends to begin nationwide package delivery via drone by 2020. In addition, the country is also keen on standardizing self-driving trucks by 2022—as well as increasing the efficiency of their healthcare by expanding institution-wide data-flow via tools like artificial intelligence and Big Data systems. The final decisions ahead of implementation are scheduled for June 9th of this year.
These significant governmental investments are in response to the country's recent economic slump; Japan has entered an environment where even top companies, including its largest shipping company, are forced to cut costs and increase prices. Autonomy is seen in part as a way to maintain sustainable economic growth into the future.
Of course, Japan isn't the only country exploring autonomous delivery systems, though in the U.S., automating deliveries is more of a concern than a welcome solution for most employees, as we reported on last week.
According to VentureBeat, a source states that the priorities for autonomy are "improving life expectancy, revolutionizing transport, modernizing supply chains, improving infrastructure and using financial technology." In order to figure out what works and what doesn't in the new order of things, Japan will allow a temporary period of lax regulations, a so-called "sandbox," wherein companies can experiment more freely without fear of punitive fines.