KDDI began a demonstration experiment in Japan using high-precision location information to automatically calculate charges for bus trips, as it looks to cut costs associated with current transport payment methods and boost digital transformation efforts.

The operator stated the trial began today (15 October) in the Tokushima prefecture and will run until 31 January 2022, allowing users to tap their smartphone on an NFC plate installed in buses to make a cashless transaction for their travel based on an automatic estimate of the fare.

Claiming the test to be a country-first, KDDI explained the move aimed to enhance digital transformation by making local transportation cashless, a need further driven by the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

It also hailed the step for addressing a number of issues linked to costs for initial installation and maintenance of physical transportation cards, and a lack of awareness among tourists about a system of paying fares through a numbered ticket.

KDDI intends to apply for a patent of the technology.

Its move is part of broader sustainability goals it set until 2030.