Kyocera to participate in self-driving bus test project on JR East BR lines

14 December 2018

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Kyocera have announced that they will participate in a self-driving bus test project organised by the Mobility Innovation Consortium: an organisation to promote autonomous driving led by East Japan Railway Company (JR East).

Other corporations who are participating in the test project will include Advanced Smart Mobility Co., Aichi Steel Corporation, SoftBank Corp., Nippon Signal Co., and NEC Corporation.

Project tests, which will occur between December 2018 and March 2019, are designated to evaluate self-driving technologies for bus transit applications: these include automated lane-maintenance control, speed control, parking assist, and alternating passage tests on East Japan Railway Company’s (JR East) Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines.

Kyocera will support the installation and maintenance of roadside units for vehicle-to-infrastructure communications. Plus, through multiple BRT experiments, the companies aim to identify and solve technology issues that stand in the way of commercialising autonomous bus transit. The project is designed to evaluate technologies; public demonstration rides will not occur at this phase.

Project overview

The tests will be conducted using specially modified autonomous buses provided by Advanced Smart Mobility. Technologies under evaluation include the following:

1. Lane maintenance and speed control

High-sensitivity magnetic impedance (MI) sensors, placed on the bus, read information from magnetic markers placed on BRT routes to identify the vehicle’s exact position. Tests will verify the smooth and seamless operation of the bus autonomous lane-maintenance and speed control systems. By automatically controlling the vehicle’s brakes and accelerator, the test evaluates typical operation at speeds of 40km/h or lower, with stops at designated positions.

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2. Precision docking

Stopping tests utilise magnetic markers that communicate spatial information to stop the bus automatically as it reaches the platform of the BRT station.

3. Narrow road ‘alternating passage’ capability

Through radio communication between the bus and location-detection systems, this test will verify the bus’s ability to negotiate passage on a BRT roadway – wide enough for just one vehicle, as another vehicle approaches from the opposite direction.

4. Other experiments

In addition to the experiments listed above, the companies will conduct location-detection tests using GPS to verify navigation and distance-measurement systems.

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