Mitsubishi Will Use Military Sensors For Guiding Autonomous Cars
|   Sunday, April 24, 2016
The biggest technological leaps are coming from the military field, whether it is IT, the auto area, or others. It is therefore mildly surprising that Mitsubishi Electric will use a technology that comes from guided missiles to make systems for autonomous cars.

It should be noted that Mitsubishi Electric and Mitsubishi, the company that produces cars, are not the same company. The first provides air-to-air missiles for the Japanese army, and among the technologies borrowed from them we have radar, echo sounders, sensors and video cameras.

Facilities will come integrated into cars by 2020 and all Mitsubishi has to do is to transfer the missile hardware and components to the automobiles, according to the company engineers.

Few people know that the Mitsubishi name is not only associated with the automotive industry. On the Japanese market, the mother country, the brand is known in many areas of activity, including the armament one. As was expected, Mitsubishi wants to combine certain areas of expertise to transfer innovative technologies from the military field onto current cars.

While a rocket launcher or other weapon of destruction would come in handy in some traffic conditions, we only get a missile guidance system used for fighter aircraft. This would be transplanted into cars to help autonomous driving technology. The Japanese plan is to combine existing sensors with a satellite guidance system to send information in real time to the cars. All this will be possible thanks to the three satellites which Mitsubishi will put in orbit by 2018.

Adachi Katsumi, head of automotive equipment division, said that the technology exists. It only needs synchronization - radars with millimeter-sensitivity, sensors, video cameras and sonar exist. They need only to be calibrated to accelerate development and reduce the costs of autonomous cars.

More specifically, these technologies will help improve automatic braking systems and keeping the same lane, scheduled to be used on Mitsubishi autonomous cars from 2020 onwards. So, the first stage will be an automatic system that allows keeping the same lane and an intelligent braking system. The production will start in 2017. Then comes automatic parking and satellite tracking services.

Radar and sonar could help the autonomous cars by easily detecting other vehicles or pedestrians around them, estimating their proximity or remoteness.
"All we have to do is to put together the components that we already have," said Adachi in Ako city, some 600 kilometers (or 375 miles) west of Tokyo, where the company has a test course cars installed. "None of our competitors have such a wide array of capabilities."
"At this point we still have a lot of challenges," he continued."There's a long way to go."

The challenge is to bring down costs for using the technologies developed by industries like aerospace, said Goro Tanamachi, IHS analyst based in Tokyo.
"Cost-cutting requests are much more severe in autos than aerospace," he declared. "I wonder if it's possible for them to bring down the cost of the systems to the levels manufacturers can use for cheap, low-end cars."
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