MaaS and Autonomous Driving Through MONET Technologies

#Autonomous Driving


1. Background

There is growing interest in new mobility initiatives such as Mobility as a Service (MaaS)* and autonomous driving as solutions to a variety of social issues related to transportation and mobility, including traffic congestion in urban areas, accidents involving elderly drivers, difficulties faced by those who return their driver's license, decreasing the number of users of public transportation, and shortage of drivers.

  • MaaS:A concept that integrates various types of transportation services into a single mobility solution.

Against this backdrop, to extract new value from mobility and to solve social issues related to transportation and mobility, MONET Technologies, Inc. ("MONET Technologies"), a joint venture company consisting of SoftBank Corp., Toyota Motor Corporation, and others, started its business in 2019.

2. Enriching People's Lives Through Mobility Services

MONET Technologies' corporate philosophy is to "enrich people's lives through mobility services.”

By utilizing IT and AI technologies in existing transportation services, the company aims to achieve improved convenience and optimized operations to address social issues. Furthermore, MONET Technologies aims to contribute to the realization of a sustainable society by utilizing data related to mobility services and transportation obtained from these initiatives.

To achieve this corporate philosophy, MONET Technologies places great importance on three key points: (1) Demand Responsive Transport Services, (2) Platform, and (3) Autonomous Driving.

(1) Demand Responsive Transport Services

Instead of people moving to fit the schedule, mobility services are provided to fit people's movements.

In areas where the maintenance of public transportation is difficult due to a decreasing number of users, various attempts are being made, such as new services like on-demand transportation and using vehicles for various purposes depending on the time of day and the number of passengers to improve operational efficiency.

(2) Platform

A platform is important as a place to connect users and service providers, as well as technology and data. By digitizing services and building a platform that connects users and service providers, it is possible to improve service convenience and create new mobility services based on data.

Furthermore, by utilizing the platform operated by MONET Technologies, various stakeholders including companies and municipalities addressing the same issues, collaborate and cooperate to advance initiatives towards realizing the corporate philosophy.

(3) Autonomous Driving

The realization of driverless movement through autonomous driving is expected to reduce labor costs for transportation services and to use service vehicles to deliver goods and services unmanned.

MONET Technologies is working on considering and conducting demonstration experiments for business and services in order to implement services that utilize autonomous vehicles in society.

3. Services and Products Offered by MONET Technologies

MONET Technologies develops various services and products with the above three points in mind.

In addition to transportation options such as airplanes, trains, buses, and taxis, MONET Technologies is creating new mobility services that connect people, things, and services, with the aim of realizing a more enriching and comfortable life.

Demand Responsive Transport Services

It is an application system that includes all the necessary functions for realizing Demand Responsive Transport Services. It provides a user application for booking rides and checking reservation status, a driver application for real-time confirmation of their route and operation plan, and a web system for the administrators, supporting the realization of Demand Responsive Transport Services within the region.

Mobile Clinic / Mobile Town Office

Monet Technologies offers vehicles and systems to realize Mobile Clinic and Mobile Town Office and supports their implementation. By utilizing MONET Technologies' multi-tasking vehicles and applications, vehicles can be dispatched directly to patients or local residents who have difficulty moving, enabling the delivery of medical and administrative services.

Achievable Services

Achievable Services

MONET Marketplace

MONET Technologies operates MONET Marketplace to support the realization of MaaS initiatives by companies and municipalities by providing various data and APIs that can be used for MaaS system development. This allows for the development of MaaS systems and the construction of UI that meet each company's individual needs and challenges.

4. MONET Consortium Working Towards Innovation in Mobility Services

In addition, MONET Technologies is working with various companies and municipalities to realize mobility innovation.

One of the representative initiatives is MONET Consortium. With 746 participating companies (as of June 14, 2023) from a wide variety of industries and business sectors, the consortium aims to promote next-generation mobility services, solve social issues related to mobility, and create new value through collaboration among companies.

Furthermore, various automobile OEMs, not only Toyota Motor Corporation, participate as shareholders in MONET Technologies. The company shares technical development know-how and data regarding transportation and mobility to address social challenges related to transportation and mobility with MONET Technologies as a hub.

5. Our Roles

SoftBank’s Research Institute of Advanced Technology supports MONET Technologies' initiatives to achieve implementation of mobility services through engineering activities, starting from business launch planning to the development of necessary technology and service designs for platforms and Demand Responsive Transport Services, as well as data science and analysis, and service improvement and function expansion based on analysis results.

Furthermore, in the development of autonomous driving technology, we are conducting research and development to optimize operations and reduce costs in order to continue our initiatives to implement autonomous vehicles in society, developing technology to automate the monitoring and operation of autonomous vehicles, and researching technology to create HD maps (high-precision 3D maps) using aerial photographs.

As part of its efforts to achieve SoftBank's management philosophy of "Information Revolution - Happiness for Everyone", the Research Institute of Advanced Technology will continue conducting research in collaboration with MONET Technologies towards implementing new mobility services and a mobile society.

Research Areas