Start of Social Experiment Using Multiple Language Voice Translation System in Tourist Taxis for Visitors to Japan
―Achieving Multiple Language Tourist Guidance with the 1000 Yen Taxi Service in Tottori City, Tottori―
November 18, 2015
KDDI R&D Laboratories, Inc.
From November 18, 2015, KDDI and KDDI R&D Laboratories will begin a social experiment using their Multiple Language Voice Translation System in the 1000 Yen Taxi tourist service in Tottori City, Tottori for visitors to Japan.
The 1000 Yen Taxi service began in January 2011 as a tourist taxi service for foreign tourists visiting Tottori City. Taxi drivers certified as Tottori Tourist Meisters guide tourists to tourist spots throughout Tottori City so they can experience hospitality and learn about the history and culture. Users can use the service for three hours for ¥1000 (tax included, per person), allowing foreign tourists to the tourism of Shimane easily and affordably.
KDDI's aim with this social experiment is to overcome the differences in public services caused by language barriers by equipping the Multiple Language Voice Translation System  into 1000 Yen Taxi vehicles to achieve communication between taxi drivers and foreign visitors, which has always been an issue. Furthermore, KDDI R&D Laboratories will continue with research and development of translation accuracy improvement technology using location information and users' smartphones to continually improve the accuracy of the voice translations.
KDDI and KDDI R&D Laboratories will continue its efforts to achieve hospitality that utilizes ICT for the improvement of customer satisfaction and sense of security, the increase of the number of tourists and repeater rate, and the contribution to the spread of local economies through tourism.
The Multiple Language Voice Translation System is constructed by KDDI utilizing technology developed by the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NCIT). Translations to English, Simplified Chinese, and Korean are supported. (As of November 18, 2015)
Installation of the Multiple Language Voice Translation System into 1000 Yen Taxi vehicles is done with technological cooperation from Toyota Info Technology Center Co., Ltd. and FUJITSU TEN LIMITED.
About the Tottori City, Tottori Social Experiment
1. Background and purpose of the social experiment
KDDI is conducting a social experiment of its Multiple Language Voice Translation System and related R&D technology in the field to overcome the differences in public services caused by language barriers in taxis used by foreign visitors. Through this social experiment, KDDI will extract issues regarding the Multiple Language Voice Translation System in taxis, and by formulating corresponding solutions, KDDI aims to expedite social implantation of the system and achieve a higher level of hospitality.
2. Experiment period
November 2015 to the end of March 2016 (scheduled)
3. Experiment details (example)
(1）Observe how foreign tourists communicate with taxi drivers to uncover the actual conditions when foreign travelers use taxis in Japan by analyzing the data.
(2)Conduct interview surveys with taxi drivers that pick up foreign travelers to determine issues that occur when picking up foreign travelers to uncover issues when foreign travelers use taxis in Japan from the taxi driver's point of view.
This is a taxi service for tourism in Tottori City for foreign tourists that visit Tottori City. Taxi drivers certified as Tottori Tourist Meisters guide tourists to tourist spots throughout Tottori City providing information on the tourist spots.
*This social experiment is implemented as part of the Promotion of the Global Communication Plan – Research, Development, and Social Experimentation of Multiple Language Voice Translation Technology research and development project commissioned by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.
※The information contained in the articles is current at the time of publication.Products, service fees, service content and specifications, contact information, and other details are subject to change without notice.