Photo/IllutrationToyota Motor Corp.’s Estima minivan equipped with ZMP Inc.’s self-driving system will be used in a trial run on public roads in Tokyo in August. (Provided by ZMP Inc.)

A self-driving taxi will carry passengers in test runs on public roads in central Tokyo for the first time in August, partner companies said July 18.

Autonomous driving start-up ZMP Inc. and taxi operator Hinomaru Kotsu Co. said the self-driving minivan is scheduled to make four round trips a day along the 5.3-kilometer route between Otemachi Financial City Grand Cube, a skyscraper in the business center of Chiyoda Ward, and the Roppongi Hills commercial complex in Minato Ward.

A driver of Hinomaru Kotsu will sit in the driver’s seat in case of an emergency. But the autonomous technology will handle the steering wheel, accelerator and brake pedal in normal circumstances.

A special smartphone app will allow passengers to open the door of the “driverless” taxi. They can pay the one-way fare of 1,500 yen ($13) with their credit cards that would be registered in advance.

The trial will run from Aug. 27 to Sept. 8, except for Sept. 2.

Those who want to try out the autonomous taxi during the test run should apply by July 31 through ZMP Inc.’s special website (in Japanese only): (

Passengers will be chosen by lottery if the number of applicants exceeds the available slots.

ZMP aims to put the self-driving taxi to practical use by 2020.

Nissan Motor Co. and Japanese mobile game provider DeNa Co. jointly conducted a trial run of a self-driving taxi in Yokohama’s Minato Mirai waterfront district in March.