Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc.

Mobility

The goal is to realize a society where everyone can move freely, safely and in a pollution-free way.

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 Mobility.

Innovation to relieve congestion

Social problem

  • Chronic traffic congestion

    - Road congestion in urban and interurban areas continues to be a major problem in our country. Traffic jams occurring during peak commuting time periods and traffic congestion on highways during the holiday seasons are typical cases of this problem, incurring a loss of time and money. Congestion also exacerbates the negative impact on the environment due to CO2 emissions.

    - In recent years, major Chinese and Southeast Asian cities have achieved remarkable economic growth. While populations have increased rapidly and cities have urbanized, insufficient traffic infrastructure has caused chronic traffic congestion leading to significant economic losses.

Issues to be tackled

  • Optimizing traffic flow with ICT

Examples of innovation

  • Reduction of total travel time
    - Optimization of traffic volume by ride-sharing, modal shift, inflow/outflow control, and visualization of taxi demand
    - Work-at-home and telework
  • Improvements in efficiency (Route optimization)
    - Enhanced navigation systems (completely optimized navigation), pricing strategies for tolls to diversify routes taken (including charging and payment systems) and a service to provide traffic information modifying driver behavior
    - Mobility as a Service (MaaS) (uniform management of various vehicle information powered by IoT)
    - Sensing-City (detects traffic and other information with sensors, reflected in city design and policy)
  • Streamlining traffic flows at congested areas such as highway sags and ramps
    - Develop self-driving vehicles and their supporting technology (adaptive cruise control and inter-vehicle distance optimization)
  • Emerging forms of mobility
    - New transportation systems such as LRT and BRT
    - Hyperloop (a decompressed tube where vehicles run at high speeds) that connects suburban residential areas to city centers

Innovation to support mobility-impaired persons

Social problem

  • Insufficient public transportation services for vulnerable users

    - Due to the closures of many small and medium-sized shops and grocery stores, there are many localities where seniors and those with disabilities cannot go shopping on foot. This phenomenon has come to be known as “food desert”. In rural areas where public transportation routes are underdeveloped, seniors and those with disabilities who cannot drive are severely disadvantaged. Without the means to carry out daily activities such as dining out, going shopping, or traveling to the hospital, there are concerns that seniors and the disabled face a declining quality of life (QOL).

    - In developing countries, the expansion of public transportation services cannot keep up with the rapid pace of urbanization. For city dwellers, especially vulnerable users such as those in poverty and seniors, the lack of sufficient public transportation is an unavoidable fact of life. In places where public transportation is not well established, vulnerable commuters such as seniors, handicapped and children have limited access to medical and educational facilities, etc.

Issues to be tackled

  • Spreading transportation systems that ensure free mobility

Examples of innovation

  • Inexpensive means of transportation for seniors and the handicapped that covers a radius of several kilometers from where they live
    - Ride-sharing, self-driving cars, insurance services for self-driving cars, etc.
  • Development of travel-free alternative solutions
    - Drone delivery services, shopping through VR technologies
    - Bringing Mobile convenience stores to customers (driverless delivery and sales in less populated areas and remote islands)

Innovation for prevention of traffic fatalities

Social problem

  • Increase in traffic fatalities

    - In developing countries, the number of deaths from traffic accidents is rising. The primary causes are insufficient road infrastructure and budget allocation for road maintenance and the patrolling of traffic violations.

    - The number of deaths in Japan due to traffic accidents has been declining since 1992. While recording the fewest number (3,694) in 2017, the proportion of seniors (65 years-old and older) involved is growing.

Issues to be tackled

  • Transportation system for safe mobility

Examples of innovation

  • Measures for safe driving
    - A system that supports safe driving by predicting dangers (devices to prevent collision, incorrect braking, etc.)
    - Sensors and alarm systems to prevent falling asleep while driving
    - Personal mobility devices that seniors can use to drive safely (e.g. electric-powered carts)
  • Ensuring pedestrian safety
    - Airbags to protect pedestrians and cyclists
    - Alarm system to prevent seniors and others from suddenly entering crosswalks
    - Pedestrian-responsive crosswalk display technology

Innovation to improve logistics efficiency

Social problem

  • Capability of logistics not keeping up with increased demand

    The increase in frequency of delivery and redelivery in urban areas has become a social problem, resulting in a decline in distribution efficiency. In rural areas, concerns are increasing over one-way delivery traffic between cities and a low load rate of only 40% of total capacity.

Issues to be tackled

  • To develop a mechanism to dramatically improve distribution efficiency

Examples of innovation

  • Improvement of logistics system efficiency
    - Expanded use of existing transportation systems (passenger and cargo combo-delivery), logistics sharing among small and medium enterprises, develop a system to curb the need for redelivery, visitor authentication system (prevention of identity theft)
    - Delivery lockers at residences, driverless delivery systems, and penalties charged to recipients when they are not at home for delivery
    - Anticipatory package shipping system that predicts purchases by consumers to enhance efficiency in delivery

Past Winners

  • 2018 “Mobility” MRI Award
    Smart delivery box to drastically increase convenience in daily life

    Mashroom Inc.

    Mashroom’s smart delivery box, which can be controlled via a smartphone, enables couriers to deliver parcels in the absence of their recipient. Installing the boxes into apartments, houses, and shopping complexes will eliminate the necessity for redelivery and its associated burdens. The smart box is inexpensive as it does not require an IT network or power supply. It is also secure thanks to its unique authentication technology.
    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.