Mitsubishi Electric Corp. announced that it has been conducting expressway-based field testing of its xAUTO vehicle and related autonomous-driving technologies, for self-sensing and network-based driving, since May 2016. The xAUTO will be exhibited during the 45th Tokyo Motor Show 2017 at the Tokyo Big Sight exhibition complex in Tokyo, Japan from October 27 to November 5.
Mitsubishi Electric named its autonomous driving technologies Diamond Safety, which have been developed under the concept of "Thinking of people at any time." Mitsubishi Electric's self-sensing driving technology reportedly combines various peripheral-sensing technologies, including a forward-monitoring millimeter-wave radar with wide viewing angle, a forward-monitoring camera, and a backward side-monitoring millimeter-wave radar. Its infrastructural driving technology uses high-accuracy 3D mapping in combination with a centimeter-level augmentation service (CLAS) broadcast from the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS). Together, Mitsubishi Electric's self-sensing and network-based driving technologies enable autonomous driving with high levels of safety and convenience.
Field tests of the xAUTO and its autonomous driving technologies were conducted on two Japanese expressways—the Sanyo Expressway (Kobe junction to Ako interchange) and the Douo Expressway (Shibetsu Kenbuchi interchange to Fukagawa interchange)—for more than 300 hours. (Simulated signals were used because CLAS from the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System were not yet available.) The tests confirmed that Mitsubishi Electric's autonomous driving technologies operate practically under various road conditions, including bad visibility during dense fog and snow.
During a field test of CLAS-based autonomous driving on an expressway, which took place on September 19, it was confirmed that this technology has advanced to the practical level, according to Mitsubishi Electric. In tunnels and other locations where CLAS reception is difficult, autonomous driving was achieved with high-definition location technology to determine the vehicle's exact position in real time combined with various sensors that monitored the vehicle's motion, and a forward-monitoring camera.
To enable positioning augmentation when CLAS is not available, Mitsubishi Electric plans to build a worldwide wireless network for centimeter-level positioning compatible with CLAS. Mitsubishi Electric is collaborating in this field with Sapcorda, a German joint-venture formed by Mitsubishi Electric and other companies. Mitsubishi Electric is also collaborating with Dynamic-Map Platform Co., Ltd., and Here Technologies to develop high-accuracy 3D mapping for an envisioned global system. Verification tests are planned in Europe and North America.
Mitsubishi Electric will continue developing its original self-sensing driving technology using millimeter-wave radar and forward-monitoring cameras, focusing on collision avoidance at crosswalks on public roads and safe, convenient autonomous driving on highways and expressways. Efforts will also target vision-based forward-monitoring camera technology in collaboration with Mobileye.