Innovation Created by Intelligent Mobility―Achieving a Safe, Comfortable and Free Mobility Society

[Fujitsu Forum 2016 Event Report]

Fujitsu Forum 2016 took place on May 19 and 20 at the Tokyo International Forum in Yurakucho, Tokyo. On May 20, Fujitsu held a conference entitled "Innovation Created by Intelligent Mobility―Achieving a Safe, Comfortable and Free Mobility Society" in which technology journalist Yoshiro Tsuruhara and Corporate Executive Officer of Fujitsu Limited Shikou Kikuta talked about the innovation created by mobility technologies such as automobiles.

Innovations in Society Thanks to Intelligent Mobility

Technology journalist Yoshiro Tsuruhara, who specializes in the automotive industry, first mentioned what is happening in the music industry before taking up the theme of mobility. Music playing devices evolved from record players into CD players and then to the Walkman, and now many people download music onto their smartphones. Recently, an increasing number of listeners prefer listening to music streaming services on the Internet without downloading the music.

Mr. Tsuruhara stated, "This change in music listening styles represents a shift from ownership to use. This trend is supported by a multi-layered mechanism, including the music playback hardware, networks, and applications. This phenomenon is spreading into the automotive industry as well."

He cited automated driving as the ultimate form of intelligent mobility. A car that operates fully automatically may have no steering wheel, brake, or gas pedal. Simply tell the car the destination and it will take you there.

"Automated driving is the ultimate form of a mobility service. To ride in a car means to use a mobility service. Making this thought a reality will bring great social benefits. First, we will no longer need parking spaces. The elderly and the disabled will be able to secure means of transportation. If this technology is deployed in trucks and buses, the number of traffic accidents as well as logistics costs will be reduced," Mr. Tsuruhara said, explaining the effects of automated driving on society.

Mr. Tsuruhara talked about his future vision: "There may come a time when a variety of services related to autonomous cars are provided, such as restaurants providing their customers with a free car ride service, a service that allows users to share the view from a car with their friends via social networks or to watch movies in a car, or a service to make riders feel as if they were traveling through outer space."

In this way, the automotive industry will shift from simply providing cars as hardware to providing comprehensive services related to movement, such as automobile control software and services in cars. To realize such services, in addition to technical issues, legal and insurance issues must be resolved.

Mr. Tsuruhara concluded by commenting about future innovations related to automobiles: "The impact of automated driving will bring huge changes to the automotive industry; it's not just about driving without human drivers."

Services Fujitsu May Provide in the Future Mobility Field

Next at the podium was Shikou Kikuta from Fujitsu Limited, who talked about the future contemplated by Fujitsu in which "the number of connected cars, including autonomous cars, increases explosively."

The premise is that automobiles of the future will be connected to networks. In the automobile world in the future, probe data (*) will be collected from vehicles in operation and stored as big data, which will be recognized and analyzed using AI technology. High-performance maps for automated driving, the technology to distribute and manage such maps, and security technology for safe operation will also be required.

Currently, Fujitsu is focusing on developing a comprehensive mobility platform that encompasses such new technologies. "By sharing what a vehicle has learned with other vehicles over a network, the AIs installed on other vehicles will also improve. Using such technologies, Fujitsu aims to develop human centric mobility tailored to each driver," said Mr. Kikuta.

Technology for automated operation can significantly change the transportation industry, as it even makes it possible for a single driver to lead a multi-truck platoon. Fujitsu has researched a technology that allows a manned guidance vehicle to control unmanned vehicles following the manned one.

Mr. Kikuta concluded his presentation by noting that "together with auto manufacturers, Fujitsu would like to contribute to resolving mobility-related issues, such as problems related to elderly drivers, traffic accident prevention, elimination of congestion, and reduction of CO2 emissions."

*Probe data:
Vehicle traveling data, including travel times, locations, and speeds, collected through in-vehicle sensors.

Panel Discussion
What Next-Generation Mobility Will Bring to People and Society

Lastly, a panel discussion was held regarding the theme of use of ultra-compact electric vehicles (EVs), which are considered to be a next-generation mobility technology. The panelists were Makoto Tamura (General Manager of the Ha:mo Business Planning Department, ITS Planning Division, Connected Company, Toyota Motor Corporation), Kazuyuki Iwata (Chief Operating Officer, Advanced Research Division Honda R&D Co., Ltd. Automobile R&D Center), Yoshiro Tsuruhara (technology journalist), and Shikou Kikuta (Corporate Executive Officer, Fujitsu Limited). Tatsuhiko Hayashi (Editor-in-Chief, Nikkei Automotive Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Nikkei Technology Online Nikkei Business Publications, Inc.) served as moderator.

Mr. Tamura introduced Toyota's Ha:mo, a new transportation service that integrates private cars with public transportation networks.

"Toyota is carrying out demonstration experiments of Ha:mo in depopulated areas, tourist sites, urban locations, and various other areas. Ultra-compact EVs offer many advantages, such as high space efficiency, light weight, environmental friendliness, and a reduced burden in terms of charging facilities. We would like to provide this system as a one-way transportation service by promoting integration with public transportation," he said.

Mr. Iwata from Honda R&D Co., Ltd., which is carrying out a demonstration experiment of the ultra-compact EV MC-β, described the new benefits of EVs as follows: "Honda started this project from the point of generating energy. CO2 is emitted to make electricity; however, if EVs are charged in parking spaces equipped with a solar power generation system, no CO2 is emitted. Also, in such a case, power supply can be recovered relatively quickly in the event of a disaster. Even if people cannot obtain gasoline, they can move as needed with such electricity."

Mr. Kikuta from Fujitsu followed with this comment: "Although Fujitsu does not manufacture automobiles, we would like to support booking and dispatch services for taxis that operate automatically, automated parking control and management, and safety and security services."

Technology journalist Yoshiro Tsuruhara pointed out issues about using sharing services: "Demonstration experiments have been carried out in various places, but users who use a service only once in a while tend to forget how to use their user cards. So, ensuring ease-of-use for services is also necessary to prevent users from getting confused."

Mr. Hayashi, the moderator, concluded as follows: "Ultra-compact mobility matches the shift from 'ownership to use.' Discussions of vehicles will spread into the domains of town planning and the environment, which will bring about a major movement in mobility. New services that make users feel more comfortable will likely be introduced one after another."

<Speakers>
  • "Innovations in Society Thanks to Intelligent Mobility" Yoshiro Tsuruhara CEO, Technology Journalist /
    Editor AutoInsight, Inc.
    Visiting Researcher, Nikkei BP, Mirai Kenkyujo
    Nikkei Business Publications, Inc.

  • "Services Fujitsu May Provide in the Future Mobility Field" Shikou Kikuta Corporate Executive Officer
    Fujitsu Limited

[Panel Discussion]
"What Next-Generation Mobility Will Bring to People and Society"
  • Makoto Tamura General Manager, Ha:mo Business Planning Department
    ITS Planning Division, Connected Company
    Toyota Motor Corporation

  • Kazuyuki Iwata Chief Operating Officer, Advanced Research Division Honda R&D Co., Ltd. Automobile R&D Center

  • Yoshiro Tsuruhara CEO, Technology Journalist /
    Editor AutoInsight, Inc.
    Visiting Researcher, Nikkei BP, Mirai Kenkyujo
    Nikkei Business Publications, Inc.

  • Shikou Kikuta Corporate Executive Officer
    Fujitsu Limited

[Moderator]
  • Tatsuhiko Hayashi Editor-in-Chief, Nikkei Automotive
    Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Nikkei Technology Online Nikkei Business Publications, Inc.

Experiencing ICT That Brings Safety and Security to People and Vehicles

In the exhibition hall, Fujitsu introduced security management services and safe driving support functions for the coming age of automated driving.

In a demonstration using an actual car, visitors experienced driving support functions, including functions that sound an alert when bicycles approach or the driver becomes inattentive, and that adjust incoming email notifications according to the driver's status.

Fujitsu staff members explained functions in detail using an actual car

"For example, if a driver receives an incoming email notification while turning a corner, it may affect the drivers' steering performance. This function adjusts incoming notifications according to the driver's status so that they do not impair the driver's attention." (Fujitsu staff member)

Fujitsu also demonstrated a recorder that records images of traffic accidents, explaining how it contributes to safe driving: "Fujitsu Ten's new drive recorder products (for business use) do not simply record driving data, including scenes outside the car, but support safe driving by accumulating data in a cloud datacenter in order to automatically analyze each driver's driving characteristics and points of caution." This function may also prove useful in the future for maintenance and insurance services, which can use the vehicle information and maintenance data.

Vehicle security must address cyber-attacks, the surrounding environment, driver inattentiveness, and other factors. To address this variety of factors, Fujitsu has been developing numerous solutions.

Mobility service for watching over drivers

Fujitsu introduced its initiatives on mobility, including the Roadway Patrol Support Service, which employs smartphones to inspect roadway conditions while driving.

Looking toward the coming of a new mobility era

Automated driving systems evolve by connecting vehicles to networks and making network-connected vehicles work with the cloud, in-vehicle systems, and AI. Anticipating the arrival of such an era, Fujitsu is focused on "Security," "AI," and "Dynamic Map DB Management."

Security

The number of connected cars is expected to increase explosively in the future, so security measures for such cars will become more important. To ensure the safety of connected cars against a variety of possible threats in the future, Fujitsu will provide security services that combine multiple security measures through the cloud, networks, and in-vehicle devices.

AI

AI collects information from in-vehicle sensors and IoT devices in order to analyze such information. Fujitsu is promoting the development of AI that can learn and grow through the cloud and in-vehicle devices. Information collected from vehicles is stored as big data, and the learning results analyzed using high-speed, cloud-based AI are fed back to the onboard AI. Thus, by connecting cloud-based AI with onboard AI, Fujitsu will provide functionality to support safe automated driving.

Dynamic Map DB Management

Autonomous vehicles operate while referencing map data. Maps used for automated driving are 3D dynamic maps that show always-up-to-date real-time information, including road geometry, road conditions, and speed limits. To ensure dynamic maps always have the very latest correct data, database management is important. Fujitsu provides a database management function as part of its Mobility IoT Platform.