As electronics makes advances, the automotive industry keeps evolving.
Next-generation vehicles are now poised for an exhilarating take off.
DENSO is a top-level automotive components supplier that provides advanced automotive technologies, systems, and products to almost all of the world's major vehicle manufacturers.
High-quality and high-precision electronic components play a major part in the advancement of vehicle electronics.
Among such components, the timing device is essential for wholly balancing the electronic circuitry.
Our expectations for Murata will be even greater going forward as we leverage Murata's combination of ceramic and quartz technologies.
2020―The Target for Making Automated Driving a Reality
The use of and advances in vehicle electronics have seen dramatic progress. Today the focus is particularly on the road-going, automated vehicle. The government has set the early 2020s (a decade highlighted by the Tokyo Summer Olympics) as the target for achieving this technology. The direction for achieving automated driving is to make further advancements to already-commercialized driver assistance systems, with testing on public roads nearing full-fledged status. Obviously, vehicle manufacturers are taking the lead in developing such cars, but home appliance and motor manufacturers, as well as software companies from the information industry, are also entering the development race. It is no surprise that the players taking the lead in this space have the technology for and capability of collecting and analyzing big data, including electronic data and map information. The realignment of players has been rather swift.
The Challenge Brought About by Automated Driving―How to Spread a New Culture and New Ethics
DENSO is also conducting trials for automated driving technology, which we believe is definitely feasible. However, the problem is the approach to automated driving, i.e., the ideas and ethics of the technology. Each nation has their own concept for automated driving, but concepts will also vary even within a nation depending on age and gender. For example, a characteristic city-driving situation in Japan is that of a pedestrian watching out for a vehicle at an intersection or side street. The pedestrian is looking at the driver, not at the vehicle itself. The pedestrian needs eye contact to confirm that the driver is aware of him/her. The pedestrian would be very fearful of crossing in front of the car if the driver is sleeping and does not see him/her. Since an automated vehicle is under control and aware of people around the car, it is capable of stopping and avoiding people. However, the pedestrian must be notified that the vehicle is automated and is therefore safe. Hazard lights or lamps may be used to perform such notification, but will the pedestrian understand that the blinking lights signify that the vehicle is being self-driven? A foundation for the common pedestrian to understand such signals is critical.
The Goal for Advancements in Collision Safety Research Is a World Free of Traffic Accidents
Another aspect of advanced vehicles is the area of passive safety. Safety provisions in this area today include airbag countermeasures that anticipate collisions from the front and sides. The trend going forward is the collection of periphery information and the provision of countermeasures against angled collisions or against collisions where two vehicles enter an intersection at the same time. The collected periphery information would include vehicles that are traveling in the vicinity as well as information on those vehicles so that a drop in speed by a vehicle ahead would be perceived to enable collision countermeasures. As the supporting infrastructure develops, vehicles would be controlled based on received information from intersections and traffic conditions. Advancements in vehicle-to-vehicle and road-to-vehicle information communication will be a further step for achieving the goal of zero traffic accidents. Aside from automated driving, vehicle safety technology advancements are being made in very practical ways as well in the real world.
Security and Safety Are Fundamental―To Save As Many Lives As Possible
In both automated driving and passive safety, security and safety are major themes. Since we at DENSO are passionate about security and safety, we have made these initiatives our mission so that people around the world will continue to love their vehicles. The world now requires security and safety functions to be designed into the product.
For example, airbags are unlike other products in that they do not operate in normal conditions. But when they do operate, they must protect precious human lives. Their role is to unfailingly operate to save the lives that can be saved at that critical moment.
There are various aspects to security and safety, the first of which is everyday confidence. Everyday confidence is the delivery of warnings to the driver when danger is perceived before a collision or intervention by automatic control if the driver does not take notice. This is the realm of detection to prediction for accident prevention, where the surrounding conditions are read and preparations are made for imminent danger.
Even so, the probability of a collision is not completely eliminated. In the case of a collision, the provision of extraordinary safety comes into play. Extraordinary safety includes the transmission of information to emergency services such as a call for an ambulance and the police when an airbag has activated due to a collision. Even in this case, the data would first be analyzed to determine the severity of the accident. What was the speed of the collision? Was the collision with another vehicle, a person, or a building? The response would be determined based on the severity, such as the need to make an urgent request for an ambulance or air ambulance, whether there are injured persons, or whether the vehicle is still operable. Our exploration into security and safety includes the categorization of accident scenarios and the prioritization of necessary responses, and even goes as far as the provision of post-crash assistance. Our strategy is to always seek ways to save lives, to save the lives that can be saved.
Automated vehicles are self-driving vehicles that do not require a human driver. Note that autopilot systems have already been widely accepted for use as piloting systems on airliners. A report from overseas states that Google has begun discussions with the world's major automobile manufacturers including Toyota Motor Corporation, Volkswagen (VW), Daimler, GM and Ford to commercialize fully automated driving by 2020. Domestically, Nissan Motor Company announced that it will be installing automated driving technology on multiple models by 2020 and Toyota Motor Corporation also announced a prototype equipped with automated driving technology. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has released a roadmap and announced that early 2020 will be its target for achieving this technology. Given all these reports, it is very likely that automated vehicles will be running on public roads by the time the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics open.
Big data is a term that refers to data sets so large and complex that data processing software running on traditional computers cannot handle them. As a result of the recent and rapid advances in electronics, vehicles too are now capable of inexpensively collecting and exchanging in-vehicle data in real time. Big data in this case applies to all such data that is constantly gathered to a central location via connections to external communication networks. For instance, the motions of the vehicle can be monitored by gathering all the signals transmitted by the in-vehicle electronic circuits and sensors to one location. The data thus collected by vehicles is called probe information and is gathering attention as big data for vehicles. The strong association of probe information with the peripheral automotive segment will likely drive the creation of a new market in this space.