Tech

Mitsubishi Electric's Mobile Mapping System uses rooftop cameras to gather 3-D data.

Autonomous vehicles

Companies vie to create sophisticated maps for self-driving cars

TOKYO -- The era of self-driving cars in everyday life is just around the corner. "In 2020, when Tokyo hosts the Olympic and Paralympic Games, self-driving cars will probably be running around the city," said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at an ...

  • Alternative fuels

    Toyota eyes hydrogen for factories as well as cars

    NAGOYA -- Toyota Motor will begin tests of hydrogen as a power source at production facilities as early as this year, aiming to tame rising carbon dioxide emissions by expanding on its experience as the developer of the first fuel cell car on the mar...

  • Nikkei exclusive

    Five years on, Fukushima cleanup still a daunting task

    TOKYO -- Nearly five years after a devastating earthquake and tsunami, the wreckage that litters the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant underscores the massive undertaking of decommissioning the reactors that is expected to take decades. For this ex...

  • Rocket science

    Japan separator tech eases impact on satellites

    TOKYO -- The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will test technology designed to ease the impact on satellites as they separate from their launch vehicle by around 75 percent, allowing for more sophisticated equipment. A satellite absorbs force e...

  • Electronics

    Panasonic crafts sharper electric eye for cars

    OSAKA -- Panasonic says it has developed an image sensor 100 times as sensitive to light as existing technology, enabling self-driving cars to spot pedestrians, traffic signals and other objects instantly even at night. The Japanese manufacturer ...

  • Japanese defense

    Stealth fighter prototype unveiled

    TOKYO -- A demonstration unit of the X-2 stealth fighter made its debut Thursday, with the Japanese-built experimental aircraft promising greater maneuverability than other stealth planes. The jet will take its maiden flight the week of Feb. 15 o...

  • Space and the military

    Eyeing China, Japan and US move to extend life of ISS

    TOKYO -- Japan and the U.S. agreed on Dec. 22 to extend the use of the International Space Station until 2024, four years longer than initially planned. Behind this agreement lies concern that mothballing the ISS as scheduled would leave China as the...

  • Artificial intelligence

    Google program bests go pros with deep learning

    SILICON VALLEY -- Google has trained a computer to beat professional go players, opening the door to new applications and ethical concerns as artificial intelligence draws closer to matching human thinking. The U.S. tech giant presented its findi...

  • Industrial vegetables

    Purple LEDs help old factory turn out salad greens

    TOKYO -- As incomes rise and food-safety concerns swell, the idea of factory-produced vegetables is appealing to more Southeast Asians. Singapore leads the regional trend. Factory farms that use strict quality and environmental controls present a...

  • Urban transport

    China's congested cities could learn a thing or two from Tokyo

    I lived in Beijing for two years, in 1991 and 1993, and have visited the city almost yearly since then. Back in the early 1990s, traveling around Beijing was a breeze if you had privileged access to company cars or the money to afford a taxi. ...

  • High-tech materials

    Japan companies look beyond carbon fiber

    TOKYO -- Japanese materials companies are on the hunt for the next big thing in the high-functional materials market. While three makers -- Toray Industries, Teijin and Mitsubishi Rayon -- currently dominates the global carbon fiber market, with a co...

  • Functional glasses

    Oxygen glasses offer relief from eyestrain

    TOKYO -- Smartphones and PCs may have become an essential part of most people's jobs nowadays, but being glued to a screen for most of your waking life is far from what you would call healthy. However, some eyewear manufacturers have seen the increas...

  • Internet of Things

    Boy, do Fanuc and Cisco have a deal for your factory

    TOKYO -- Fanuc and Cisco Systems are set to commercialize a technology this summer that promises glitch- and disruption-free factory operations. The Internet of Things-based system monitors machinery and spots signs of possible abnormalities so that ...

  • Aerospace technology

    Japan targets 30% cost cut in launch of small rocket

    TOKYO -- Japan aims to reduce the cost of launching the Epsilon rocket by about 30% by 2020, tapping private-sector technologies and standardizing components. The Epsilon launch vehicle was developed to carry small and midsize satellites into spa...

  • Ecosystem

    Concrete, an unlikely marine ally

    TOKYO Until recently, preservation efforts related to marine and riverine environments focused mainly on water purification, but the task now encompasses a range of viewpoints, including fisheries, ecosystems and biodiversity. The development of te...

  • Alternative fuels

    JAL plans Japan's first waste-to-fuel plant

    TOKYO -- Japan Airlines is building the country's first demonstration facility for turning trash into fuel in Chiba Prefecture as it strives to put the technology to practical use by 2020. JAL has begun working with the Japan Aerospace Exploratio...

  • Japanese space industry

    Universities, Asian nations plan surveillance satellite network

    TOKYO -- Eight Asian nations will team with two Japanese universities to build a network of microsatellites aimed at monitoring the region for natural disasters and other developments. Hokkaido University and Tohoku University will lead the creat...

  • Deep learning

    For now, this AI device will make a mutt out of you

    TOKYO -- Ever thought about what kind of cat or dog your face resembles? Just stand in front of an artificial intelligence-linked digital single-lens reflex camera, and you can get a result in seconds. It may read: "You are 74% Munchkin, 20% Tonk...

  • Sports

    Doping grows more sophisticated as rules tighten

    TOKYO -- Doping allegations have been a constant in major international sports events for decades. The allegations against Russian track and field athletes last year are just the latest example of the shadow that performance-enhancing drugs have ...

  • Japan auto industry

    Mazda toying with revival of rotary engine

    TOKYO -- The rotary engine may make a comeback at Mazda Motor after the Japanese automaker stopped making the engine in 2012. Auto enthusiasts and Mazda engineers are all geared up to celebrate the return of the company's signature engine, but others...