Home5GSoftBank, May Mobility to implement autonomous driving service in Japan

SoftBank, May Mobility to implement autonomous driving service in Japan

SoftBank said it aims to realize a next-generation network for autonomous driving in Japan by leveraging its expertise in vehicle communications with May Mobility’s autonomous vehicle technology

 

Japanese operator SoftBank and U.S. autonomous vehicle technology company May Mobility have entered into a partnership agreement to cooperate, with the goal of realizing an autonomous driving service using SoftBank’s 5G network in Japan.

In a release, Softbank noted that autonomous driving is expected to be a new type of mobility infrastructure that will alleviate traffic congestion, reduce traffic accidents, and solve social issues in depopulated areas of Japan. The government of Japan, through its public-private Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) initiative, announced in 2021, is targeting the implementation of autonomous driving services in various locations across the country by fiscal year 2025.

So far, SoftBank has been working to contribute to solving various social issues that Japan faces by researching and developing 5G network technologies for industries and providing Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) in collaboration with companies and local governments.

Under the terms of this agreement, SoftBank and May Mobility will contribute to the early implementation of autonomous driving services in Japan.

The Japanese carrier said that with the use of Level 4 and 5 vehicles, it is expected that there will be no human drivers in the vehicle but driving conditions must be monitored remotely to ensure the safety of the self-driving vehicles. This remote monitoring system requires a high-capacity and low latency network optimized for autonomous driving to collect real-time peripheral images from the vehicle, vehicle status data, and data from sensors installed on the surrounding roads and then connect them to a remote monitoring center. SoftBank said it aims to realize a next-generation network for autonomous driving in Japan by leveraging its expertise in vehicle communications with May Mobility’s autonomous vehicle technology.

In addition to the establishment of next-generation networks, it is necessary to build management systems for remote monitoring and charging and maintenance locations, as well as to develop user applications for vehicle dispatch and payments to implement autonomous driving services. SoftBank said it will contribute to realizing the early implementation of autonomous driving services with a view to utilizing its own knowledge regarding ICT and digital transformation.

Junichi Miyakawa, President and CEO of SoftBank Corp, said: “Autonomous driving is expected to contribute to solving various social issues facing Japan. By collaborating with May Mobility, which has advanced autonomous vehicle technology, we expect to accelerate the implementation of autonomous driving in Japan and realize a better society.”

“This partnership with SoftBank is a golden opportunity for May Mobility to leverage next-generation mobility infrastructure to increase the adoption of MaaS. We look forward to sharing our knowledge and experience in expanding autonomous driving in Japan,” said Edwin Olson, CEO of May Mobility.

May Mobility has already provided autonomous vehicle services equipped with its proprietary Autonomous Driving Kit (ADK) in nine cities in North America and Japan. Since its founding in 2017, the company has given more than 315,000 autonomy-enabled rides to the public.

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