Japan plans 'autoflow' cargo system for Tokyo-Osaka route

Japan is now making specific plans to create a so-called "autoflow road" cargo system connecting Tokyo and Osaka.

The automated system would use unmanned vehicles and other transportation methods.

A government panel is eyeing using the median strip of expressways or underground space for the infrastructure, which could be ready in 10 years.

An above-ground system is estimated to cost over 25 billion yen per 10 kilometers, or about 160 million dollars.

An underground route could set the government back more than 500 million dollars.

The move is part of efforts to solve a labor crunch in the logistics industry.

The infrastructure and transport ministry says the autoflow system could handle up to 26 percent of the cargo carried by trucks and other vehicles between Tokyo and Osaka.

The government aims to select a specific route and compile a basic plan by the middle of this year.