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Advanced Smart Mobility : Making a World Better place to Live and Commute
Automated vehicles are transforming the mobility landscape dramatically. These intelligent vehicles can reduce road accidents, save lives, improve commute, and minimize CO2 emissions.
In Japan, the aging of society is proceeding at a much faster pace than anywhere else in the world. It is a common issue shared by many countries; particularly many other developed countries are sooner or later anticipated to see similar increases in senior populations at a pace that equals Japan. As these people find it challenging to commute on using traditional transportation systems, there is a need for advanced mobility technologies that can allow anyone to have a safe life and take a comfortable travel.
Advanced Smart Mobility (ASMobi) plays a pivotal role in taking transportation and logistics to a whole new level through its next-gen mobility technologies. The company collaborates with Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo to pursue R&D on improving transportation systems while embedding the results into products and finally aiming to contribute to society. "Our mission is to develop the autonomous driving system for mobility," begins Keiji Aoki, CEO of ASMobi. On the autonomous driving bus front, the company pursues ways to ensure mobility for all transport users within the category of public transport systems. In addition to it, the company's R&D and core technology of autonomous driving, such as truck platooning followed by non-driver trucks with Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control, helps logistics companies manage their shipping operations efficiently.
ASMobi, since its inception in 2014, has been conducting advanced research on autonomous driving and intelligent transportation systems (ITS) geared toward large trucks and buses to tackle the challenges present in the public mass transportation systems and logistics industry. The company was primarily established to bring Prof. Yoshihiro SUDA's research (Director of Mobility Innovation Collaborative Research Organizationand Director of Advanced Mobility Research Center, Institute of Industrial Science of the University of Tokyo. He is also one of the establishment directors of ASMobi) to the commercial transportation/logistics market.
The company has been developing self-driving systems integrated with the most advanced technologies such as obstacle detection, information and communication, vehicle control and maneuver, image recognition, self-localization and more. The equipment includes RTK-GPS, SLAM, and Magnetic sensors to help localization and positioning. LiDARs, Cameras, and Milli-Meter Wave Radar are also used for detection. Through the integration of data come from those devices and functions according to the circumstances and environments, ASMobi’s system judges and controls the appropriate movement in order to enable its stable driving.
On ITS front, the best part about the system is that it allows drivers to control the speed using signal linkage even in where visibility and obstacle detection are under worse conditions.
ASMobi's systems and vehicles are time-tested, proven, and implemented to meet the clients' requirements. Most of the field tests have been conducted only for the short term, and almost none of the tests has been carried out for the long term to verify and entrench the operation methods involving practical routes driving, daily duty roster, regular inspections, and maintenance. On the other hand, ASMobi has been continuously practicing a long-run trial with the help of the University of Tokyo and other partners. They put excellent effort into inviting passengers to test the system to foster social acceptance of autonomous driving vehicles. The trial's mission is to operate an autonomous driving bus business just like any regular passenger bus in real society and ascertain any issues driving and verifying measures to address for future development. The trial uses a commercial vehicle bus equipped with an autonomous driving system developed by ASMobi and operated by the actual bus operation company. Based on the results, the bus's road performance and safety will be evaluated with level four autonomy or higher level to create a safe, comfortable, and convenient service for residents.
Besides, the proactive demonstration test of truck platooning was carried out in February 2021. Truck platooning, a leading truck followed by 2 Non-Drivertrucks with Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control, ran safely at 80km/h on the express highway. It was the very first time in Japan that such a field test was conducted. In this demonstration, the company's advanced autonomous driving technology has proved its feasible capability to run safely at a reasonable speed and assured a promising future. This entire project has been led by both Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT). Further development of platooning technology with autonomous driving and relevant operations will have high applicability to enable passenger buses as platooning fleets. "Looking at its effectiveness, we are confident to present our automated vehicles to many other transport business operators," affirms Aoki.
ASMobi is poised to transform the world of transportation and logistics in Japan and globally through its state-of-the-art mobility technology. Aoki emphasizes, "It is true that only one or a few autonomous driving vehicles themselves won't be able to make a drastic change of the entire future, so you may feel that the autonomous revolution remains decades away." However, he adds, "The maturity remains in not only technology but also all other elements such as digital infrastructure, jurisdictions, insurance, security measure and social acceptance." If these things improve and develop simultaneously, the company is confident to proactively overcome all issues and challenges present along the way toward an autonomous transportation system. "We communicate with our clients, who are members of the team to achieve our goal of enriching the people's ordinary lives," concludes Aok