If you happen to be in Hiroshima you may see a Mazda Atenza ASV-5 (known in the U.S. as the Mazda6) that is undergoing testing on public roads as part of an analysis of the potential of intelligent transportation systems.
The vehicle is being tested by the Hiroshima ITS Research Unit, which includes representatives from the University of Tokyo, Mazda, Hiroshima Electric Railway, and the National Traffic Safety and Environment Laboratory.
There’s something different in this situation than would be the case in most cities, at least in the U.S.: the system that they’re testing is how the car can communicate with the city’s streetcar system. An objective is to determine whether the two modes of transport can coexist via the use of an autonomous sensor that is meant to prevent collisions of the automobile and the streetcar.
Some 150,000 people use streetcars each day in Hiroshima, so this is clearly an important mode of transport.