The Japanese retailer known for its minimalist aesthetic helped design a self-driving bus called Gacha, created with safety in mind and put to the test in Finland's most hazardous weather conditions

As self-driving vehicles become more popular, there is an increased focus on their safety, including their performance in inclement weather. Accordingly, the Japanese household goods brand Muji recently teamed with Finnish automaker Sensible 4 to design a weather-safe, self-driving shuttle bus.

Sensible 4 is based in Finland and has been testing the vehicle, called Gacha, in the country's difficult weather, experimenting to create a bus specifically designed to operate well in the hazardous driving conditions brought about by heavy rain, fog or snow. Harri Santamala, the CEO of Sensible 4, highlights the importance of these efforts for the future of self-driving cars: “Autonomous vehicles can't become mainstream until their technology has been ensured to work in all climates.”

As for Muji, though the retailer typically works in household wares, the brand is contributing to the bus' completion by designing its aesthetic. The company draws upon its similar vehicle design experience with carmaker Nissan, and brings its famous minimalist look to Gacha. The two brands hope to debut the fleet of buses in 2020.

Muji

Sensible 4

As self-driving vehicles become more popular, there is an increased focus on their safety, including their performance in inclement weather. Accordingly, the Japanese household goods brand Muji recently teamed with Finnish automaker Sensible 4 to design a weather-safe, self-driving shuttle bus.

Sensible 4 is based in Finland and has been testing the vehicle, called Gacha, in the country's difficult weather, experimenting to create a bus specifically designed to operate well in the hazardous driving conditions brought about by heavy rain, fog or snow. Harri Santamala, the CEO of Sensible 4, highlights the importance of these efforts for the future of self-driving cars: “Autonomous vehicles can't become mainstream until their technology has been ensured to work in all climates.”