Muji just designed an autonomous shuttle bus

Muji—the Japanese lifestyle brand known for satisfyingly minimalist, affordable, and functional products—is now a self-driving car designer. Created in collaboration with the Finnish autonomous vehicle company Sensible 4, the Gacha is an all-weather shuttle bus purpose-designed for arctic weather. The first fleet of Gacha buses is expected to be produced by 2020 and the companies think the autonomous vehicles could be used in public in Finland by 2021.

“We are developing these vehicles so that they can become part of daily transportation service chain. Autonomous vehicles can’t become mainstream until their technology has been insured to work in all climates”, Harri Santamala, CEO of Sensible 4, said in a news release.

Most autonomous vehicles are tested in temperate climates and on paved roads, which means that they can’t be used in extreme situations where they might be needed most. Muji cites aging populations in remote areas—who might not have daily access to a car or someone to assist them—as a target audience.

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