Press Releases 2022
SoftBank Corp. (“SoftBank”) and May Mobility, Inc. (“May Mobility”), a U.S. company based in Michigan and a leader in autonomous vehicle technology with deployments in North America and Japan, 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 Japan, 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 and aging communities with fewer children. The Government of Japan’s “Public-Private Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) Initiative/Roadmap (announced in 2021)” indicates that they are targeting the implementation of uncrewed autonomous driving services in various locations nationwide 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. May Mobility has 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, making it a leader in the autonomous driving industry with scalable and flexible autonomous vehicle technology.
SoftBank and May Mobility will contribute to the early implementation of autonomous driving services in Japan by combining the strengths of both companies.
- *Autonomous Driving Kit (ADK): a term for the hardware and software of an autonomous driving system, consisting of a computer with embedded autonomous driving software, LiDAR, and other sensors.
1. Establishment of next-generation network for autonomous driving in Japan
Currently, research and development for autonomous driving by Level 4 (high automation) and Level 5 (full automation) vehicles is in progress. With 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 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.
2. Efforts toward the implementation of autonomous driving services in Japan
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 will contribute to realizing the early implementation of autonomous driving services with a view to utilizing its own knowledge regarding information communication technology (ICT) and digital transformation (DX), and it will leverage its customer base and the various services of its group company MONET Technologies Inc.
Junichi Miyakawa, President & CEO of SoftBank Corp., commented, “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.”
Edwin Olson, CEO of May Mobility, Inc., commented, “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.”
About May Mobility
May Mobility, established in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, in 2017, is building the world’s best autonomy system. Their proprietary Multi-Policy Decision Making (MPDM) system is at the core of their mission to help make cities safer, greener, and more accessible. MPDM's proven track record has delivered more than 315,000 autonomy-enabled rides to date in several public transit applications across the U.S. and Japan. With key strategic partnerships including some of the world’s most innovative automotive and transportation companies, such as Toyota Motor Corporation, May Mobility aims to achieve the highest standard in rider safety, sustainability, and transportation equity. For more information, visit www.maymobility.com.
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