P R Sreejesh from Tokyo Olympic Village
Japan is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. Their automotive industry especially has an international reputation for quality. Glimpses of their technological expertise can be seen at the Olympic Games Village in Harumi.
Japanese rickshaws, that bear a striking resemblance to our autorickshaws, are one of the most popular modes of transport in the rural parts of the country. These electric rickshaws are designed and developed for Japanese conditions. The vehicle's transparent glass window offers a great outside view for passengers.
Though there is a driver, it is a self-driving vehicle. His job is limited to starting, slowing down and stopping the vehicle. There is a big monitor next to the driver to give these commands. When the power switch is turned on, the vehicle will start moving before slowly gathering speed. The vehicle is without a steering wheel. The speed limiter prevents the rickshaw from travelling over a certain speed set by the driver. There are no seats. The driver and the passengers have to travel in standing position. It is air-conditioned and spacious enough to accomodate 10 persons.
(The writer is a member of the Indian hockey team)