Japan: Toyota, Nissan and Honda to help create traffic maps

Excerpts from Yomiuri:

Three major automakers plan to join an initiative to create online road traffic maps in preparation for future disasters, according to a nonprofit organization.

In the Great East Japan Earthquake last year, widespread confusion resulted after road networks were seriously disrupted.

ITS Japan, an NPO that promotes research and development for road transportation systems, will create online road maps based on information collected from the carmakers’ members-only services and other companies. The road maps would carry integrated data from different sources, it said.

In addition to Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co., car-navigation manufacturer Pioneer Corp. will participate in the initiative. Isuzu Motors Ltd. and three other truck makers may also join.

In their members-only services, automakers collect traffic information related to members’ vehicles, analyze it and send up-to-date traffic data to car navigation systems. If such a system is used during a disaster, ITS Japan would be able to find out which roads are accessible based on data collected from car navigation systems.

The initiative is intended to prepare for future disasters such as an earthquake that has been predicted to occur under northern Tokyo Bay. The government has estimated up to 11,000 people would be killed in this envisaged quake.

The online traffic road map would show accessible roads in blue and inaccessible roads in red.

ITS Japan also plans to create a system to swiftly inform government bodies, including the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, and local governments, of updates on the map to assist disaster recovery and rescue activities.

According to the NPO, 3 million passenger cars use automakers’ services. But as information also will be necessary for large trucks when a disaster occurs, it is calling on truck makers to provide service members’ traffic data.

Following the March 11 disaster, some companies offered ITS Japan traffic information individually, while four firms joined hands to release data. However, due to a lack of preparation, the data were not used widely.

Courtesy: Yomiuri Japan.

Related article: Honda announces ‘Dots’; Links floating car data with social networks

Banner space