Self-driving bullet train put to the test

Members of the media were invited to view a test run of Japan's first self-driving bullet train.

The 12-car Shinkansen train operated by East Japan Railway Company is equipped with an Automatic Train Operation system. It made three round-trip runs along a 5-kilometer stretch of line in the central prefecture of Niigata on Wednesday.

A driver was on hand during the tests but did not touch any of the controls. Everything from starting and stopping the train to adjusting the speed was carried out automatically.

The train smoothly accelerated to about 100 kilometers per hour during the tests.

The company has been developing self-driving bullet train technology out of concerns that there could be a shortage of drivers in the future due to Japan's aging population and low birthrate.