Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc.

Disaster Prevention

The goal is to realize a society where everyone is protected from Life-threatening disasters.

In addition to ideas whose applications are solely for disaster prevention, we accept submissions of ideas on how everyday products and services can also be used for disaster response.

Sub-themes

At the Innovation Network for Co-Creating the Future, we believe that the following 4 changes will have a significant impact in resolving societal problems in the area of Disaster Prevention.

Innovation to build response capabilities during a disaster

Social problem

  • Challenges of timely disaster evacuation

    Even in cases where predictions, forecasts and symptoms of disasters are available, if we lack a proper evacuation response and related support measures, we will not be able to adequately respond to secondary disasters such as tsunamis, fires and landslides.

Issues to be tackled

  • Optimization of post-disaster behavior through risk prediction

Examples of innovation

  • Simulations of disaster scenarios, educational programs to strengthen response after detecting disaster
    - Applications for disaster training, simulation of disaster experience by VR, etc.
  • Introduction of an evacuation order dispatching system that is tailored to individual circumstances (by residential area, by condition of the house, etc.)
    - Individualized evacuation order dispatching system
    - Predict disaster impacts and release an evacuation directive using AI
  • Introduction of a post-disaster system that confirms one’s safety and for search and rescue support
    - Utilize data from existing devices connected to IoT at homes and industries
  • Increase accuracy of predictions
    - More accurate predictions for disasters, and strengthened observation networks

Innovation to improve QOL after a disaster

Social problem

  • Lifelines are vulnerable after disasters

    Due to difficulties in transporting relief goods and aid personnel after the occurrence of disasters, there are challenges with maintaining minimum standards of living environments for survivors, especially in terms of drinking water, sewage, and toilets.

Issues to be tackled

  • Enhance disaster victim quality of life

Examples of innovation

  • Development of a system that allocates relief personnel and distributes relief goods based on the type of disaster situation
    - Develop a system to match relief personnel and relief goods based on the disaster situation through advanced ICT
  • Development of a transportation method that delivers relief supplies quickly and reliably to affected areas and victims
    - Utilize drones for the transportation of emergency communication relay devices and medical goods, etc.
    - Powered exoskeleton with integrated functions
    - Develop resilient delivery networks
    - AI-assisted optimization in logistical decision making
  • Development of measures to tackle prolonged dysfunction in sewerage facilities
    - Self-sufficient flush toilet needing neither sewerage nor sewage disposal, etc.
  • Development of a system to provide temporary housing promptly and economically
    - Establish a vacant-house pooling network to help victims cope with disaster

Innovation to maintenance of resilient infrastructure

Social problem

  • Delay in implementing measures for maintenance of resilient infrastructure

    - As national and municipal governments face tightening financial situations, concerns have emerged over how to maintain Japan’s aging infrastructure, built during the period of rapid economic growth. At the same time, sustainable and resilient regional development is needed to defend against severe weather such as rainstorms, flooding and big earthquakes.

    - Old water supply infrastructure needs to be upgraded or replaced, especially in areas where there is rapid population decline. Thus, there is a need to devise an efficient renewal and reconstruction method.

    - The U.S. installed new roads and bridges 30 years earlier than Japan. In the 1970s and 80s, 50 years after installation began, aging infrastructure became known as “The crumbling of America”.

Issues to be tackled

  • Extension of the life-time of infrastructure and building a resilient society

Examples of innovation

  • Risk-based infrastructure maintenance and development
    - Identify risk with AI, and revise maintenance costs in accordance with impact estimations
  • Integrated and efficient maintenance management system
    - Maintenance-free water supply infrastructure
    - Infrastructure inspection with UAV, and technology to repair water and gas pipes from inside the tubes
    - Regular inspection service for infrastructure with sensors and compact robots
  • Development of tires with advanced technology installed
    - Public vehicles (such as garbage trucks) equipped with special tires with sensors to detect the condition of pavement, deterioration, etc., and road surface-friendly tires (tires that improve or do not harm road surface)

Innovation for sustainable and resilient urban development

Social problem

  • Amount of infrastructure-related services do not meet increasing demand caused by urbanization

    As rapid urbanization in developing countries progresses, implementation of urban infrastructure (e.g. water, food, energy, housing, medical treatment, schools) does not meet demand, which may affect economic development as well as the stability of daily life. Urbanization also increases the vulnerability of seaside cities to natural disasters (e.g. flooding, storms, sea level rise).

Issues to be tackled

  • Sustainable and resilient urban development

Examples of innovation

  • Increase efficiency in urban functions
    - Construct resilient cities
    - Scatter compact cities throughout each region
    - Sensing cities (Collect data on air pollution, climate, etc. with sensors and reflect this information in the development of city plans and policies. Automation of mail delivery and other infrastructure services)
  • IT infrastructure deployment
    - Inexpensive Internet access in areas where power supply is unstable
    - Satellite constellations (worldwide internet coverage via satellites)

Past Winners

  • 2017 Part2 “Disaster Prevention” Grand Award
    Preventing incidents at energy plants employing AI and robotics

    Chinougijutsu Co., Ltd.

    Chinougijutsu developed an autonomous patrol and inspection robot for energy plants. The robot is equipped with AI to identify and detect early signs of possible incidents of old energy plants and thus protect safety of the society. The proposal contains a solution as a service to prevent incidents at social infrastructures through unique sensing technology combined with robotics.
    More [In Japanese]

Application Details

You can find out about the benefits for competition participants, the screening process and the schedule.

Other-themes

The following themes will also be considered for this program:

Business proposals may also be submitted for multifaceted social issues that involve several focus areas.

Note: business proposals focusing only on infrastructure technologies (e.g. AI and blockchains) will not be accepted.