June 14, 2017 6:16 am JST

Japanese quintet to tout homegrown GPS through venture

More precise system could find use in drones, self-driving cars

Japan has launched two Michibiki GPS satellites, with plans for two more by next spring. (Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Electric)

TOKYO -- Five Japanese enterprises will form a new company to market in Asia and Oceania new technologies using a Japanese global positioning system accurate to within centimeters.

The joint venture will be set up as early as Thursday, capitalized at 92 million yen ($836,000). Hitachi Zosen will hold a 35.87% stake, while the state-backed Development Bank of Japan will have a 31.52% interest. Denso, Hitachi Automotive Systems and Japan Radio will each own 10.87%.

The new entity will seek partnerships with nine Japanese automakers, including Toyota Motor and Nissan Motor, with an eye toward having the homegrown GPS used in future autonomous-driving technology.

The government has launched two Michibiki satellites for the system and aims to have a total of four in orbit over Japan and Australia by next spring. By working in conjunction with existing GPS, the Japanese system can provide location information accurate to within as little as 6cm, even between buildings or mountains, compared with the 10 meters sometimes seen now.

Equipping vehicles with receivers for this system would allow for lane-by-lane tracking of traffic flow. This would make it easier to manage traffic, potentially helping to ease the chronic gridlock plaguing Thailand and Vietnam.

The technology will also be used for unmanned agricultural equipment to operate in Australia's vast expanses of farmland. Hitachi Zosen has successfully tested a robot, with a 30cm tire width, that can travel safely within 40cm spaces between furrows. The company hopes to market technology for automating seed-sowing and fertilizer application through the new venture.

The Japanese government's plan for the space industry targets a 2.4 trillion yen market in the 2030s -- double current levels. It calls for public-private partnerships to promote businesses using satellite data.

(Nikkei)

Hitachi Zosen Corp.

Japan

Market(Ticker): TKS(7004)
Sector:
Industry:
Producer Manufacturing
Industrial Conglomerates
Market cap(USD): 822.58M
Shares: 170.21M

DENSO Corp.

Japan

Market(Ticker): TKS(6902)
Sector:
Industry:
Producer Manufacturing
Auto Parts: OEM
Market cap(USD): 33,293.42M
Shares: 794.06M

Japan Radio Co., Ltd.

Japan

Market(Ticker): TKS(6751)
Sector:
Industry:
Electronic Technology
Telecommunications Equipment
Market cap(USD): 398.84M
Shares: 32.80M

Toyota Motor Corp.

Japan

Market(Ticker): TKS(7203)
Sector:
Industry:
Consumer Durables
Motor Vehicles
Market cap(USD): 172,575.87M
Shares: 3,262.99M

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

Japan

Market(Ticker): TKS(7201)
Sector:
Industry:
Consumer Durables
Motor Vehicles
Market cap(USD): 40,642.21M
Shares: 4,220.71M

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