TOKYO -- The focus of the ITS (Intelligent Transport System) World Congress is not easy to pin down. Involving more than 60 countries, it turns out to be a confluence of disparate industries -- foremost among them automotive, mobile, telecommunications, and computers.
With “automation” and “big-data” as the key themes this year, the technology types who descended on Tokyo for the congress this week included mobile operators, system integrators and builders of data centers. There were also carmakers, tier-one suppliers, chip vendors, and software developers.
With the expectation that Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) will eventually lead to the societal acceptance of autonomous cars, many vendors have raced to show off vehicles equipped with ADAS, and demonstrate their key technology building blocks -- including new sensors, radars, cameras, vision algorithms, and head-up displays.
The European New Car Assessment Program (known as “Euro NCAP”), backed by several governments in the EU, has set “zero pedestrian collisions” as its goal for rating best in class cars of 2016. While this is not a mandate, every carmaker hoping to get Euro NCAP’s five-star rating is seeking viable solutions.
Christoph Hagedorn, president and CEO of Continental Japan, a subsidiary of the leading tier-one automotive supplier in Germany, said, “You can achieve the goal – either by using a stereo camera or via a combination of a radar and a mono-camera.” He added, “What Euro NCAP is ultimately looking for is, however, a solution based on data fusion -- information backed up by redundant data.”
Some cars shown at the Congress are decidedly futuristic. Beyond hybrids and EVs, Toyota proposed a low-carbon transportation system for city dwellers.
Called Ha:Mo, Toyota's car sharing concept -- now under verification testing in Toyota city in Japan -- offers a package of ultra-compact EVs, connectivity to the Internet and smartphone apps, enabling traffic forecasts and multi-modal route guidance.
Following is a snapshot of cars, people, and technology spotted at this year’s ITS World Congress show floor.
Click the image below to start the slideshow.
Ron Medford, “Mr. Safety” in the flesh at Google, speaks at ITS World Congress 2013, where autonomous cars were all the rage. Medford, the former National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s deputy director, is Google’s director of safety for self-driving cars. The unGoogle-like Beltway veteran is thoughtful and soft-spoken.