? Testing will demonstrate provision of road obstacle and optimal speed information, and support of vehicles traveling behind another vehicle
? MHI-MS will contribute road traffic sensor/communication technologies; MHIENG has expertise of integrating railway systems for the test program.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) and two Group companies – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Machinery Systems, Ltd. (MHI-MS) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engineering, Ltd. (MHIENG) – will participate in demonstration testing of a vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) system(Note1) to be conducted in FY2023 using a section of the Shin-Tomei Expressway (numbered E1A) currently under construction by Central Nippon Expressway Company Limited (NEXCO-Central). MHI Group will apply its diverse technologies in the test program and perform oversight of the V2I system, in preparation toward realizing tomorrow’s automated driving society, especially as it relates to highway driving.
MHI-MS was selected to take part in the demonstration testing project, which is operated by NEXCO-Central, in an open call for participants. MHI-MS applied jointly with Spectee Inc., a company that undertakes risk visualization using artificial intelligence (AI) and other state-of-the-art technologies. The demonstration testing will be carried out in a section, approximately 4 kilometers long, of E1A within Shizuoka Prefecture, part of the new expressway, not yet in service, stretching from the Shin-Hadano Interchange in Kanagawa Prefecture to the Shin-Gotemba Interchange in Shizuoka.
The testing will demonstrate three core functions: 1) provision, by V2I, of information on road obstacles in the forward direction to an autonomously driven vehicle behind, whose onboard sensors are incapable of detecting such forward information; 2) provision of optimal speed information, according to the given road conditions and driving environment; and 3) provision of coupling information enabling autonomous vehicle platooning according to the destination. MHI Group will contribute to the project by providing MHI-MS’s road traffic sensors and communication technologies cultivated through its experience with expressway toll collection system and road pricing system for urban zones, and MHIENG’s expertise accrued from its track record in integrating safe railway systems through cooperation between wayside and onboard systems.
Provision of data on forward driving conditions to a vehicle behind will enable the driver in the rear to recognize danger early and take precautionary action without excessive urgency, thereby contributing to fewer traffic accidents. Ability to follow closely behind another vehicle called platooning reduces air resistance and saves energy, and availability is enhanced by matched support via V2I communication. Even when rates of adoption of automated vehicles or connected cars with ICT unit functions are low in the context of total vehicle traffic, these V2I technologies can be used to provide real-time road traffic and safety information. They are thus expected to be of advantage to all vehicle traffic, by reducing traffic accidents and enabling more advanced road management.
Today, as the shift to “CASE” vehicles(Note2) revolutionizes the automotive industry, the quest for improved safety, higher efficiency, and a lighter environmental footprint remains unchanged. The vision for the future of automobiles meshes perfectly with the MHI Group initiatives for sustainability. Today, as part of its 2021 Medium-Term Business Plan’s growth strategy, the Company is working to develop solutions businesses in smart social infrastructure, in order to realize a carbon neutral society, and the NEXCO-Central project is one of various initiatives being taken to create infrastructure supporting the shift to CASE vehicles. Through participation in the demonstration testing program, MHI Group will input its comprehensive capabilities cultivated through its long years of building transportation infrastructure, and going forward the Company will seek to realize a society of autonomous driving enabled by advances in AI and digitalization.