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Kevin Borras

Are the car manufacturers returning to the ITS arena in in force? Japan seems like the perfect place to find out

Kevin Borras is editor ofThinkingHighwaysand publishing director/co-founder of H3BMedia.;


s I think I have mentioned about a dozen times since we launched Tinking Highways

at the 2006 ITS World Congress in London, my first ITS event was the 1998 ITS America Annual Meeting in Detroit. However, I didn’t get to go to Seoul later that year for the 5th ITS World Congress and I had to wait until the following year to experience our industry’s biggest show in Toronto. . I made it to Sydney for the 2001 event

but have somehow managed to miss every one of the Asia-Pacific World Congresses since so Tokyo 2013 is going to be my first experience of an Asian ITS show and I’m really looking forward to it. One thing I have missed since the early days of my time in this sector has been the presence of car manufacturers. But they appear to be back. In Detroit 15 years ago the exhibit

hall resembled a car park. Seemingly every other stand featured a car of some sort and ours was opposite a police car that had its red and blue flashing lights on for the entire three days. Some of the exhibitors only had them because they had the room to have a car on their stand, they didn’t actually produce anything that went into or onto a car but if you couldn’t have a needless car on your stand in Motor City then where could you have one? However, over the years the car companies started slipping away from ITS, so much so that I found myself thinking: “what’s that car doing there?” whenever I did see one sitting almost incongruously on the exhibit hall carpet. But have a look at the exhibitor list for Tokyo. Nissan are there. Toyota are

Europe/Rest of the World Vol 8 No 3 ❝

I’ve missed the presence of the car makers at the ITS World

Congresses of late - but they appear to be back

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podcasts at thinkinghighways. com/podcasts

there, as are. Suzuki, Mazda, Mitsubishi Motors, Honda and Daihatsu. And Yamaha (OK, they don’t make cars but it’s an impressive list). and remember that five of the seven biggest selling private cars in the US last year were Japanese, as were three of the world’s top 10 (the Toyota Corolla retaining the honour of being the best-selling car on the planet). Tis is great news for the ITS industry. We need the car companies to be supportive and not just morally, but financially. Two of our contributors took part in Nissan’s automated vehicle technology demo in Los Angeles in August and were full of praise for the technology on display and the understanding of the subject shown not just by the Nissan engineers, but also, crucially, by the marketing team. Nissan was showing off its innovative laser scanners and Around View Monitor 360 cameras that enable the car to react to the data the sensors collect, meaning the car is able to successfully deal with complex real-world road situations. But however innovative and

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intelligent the technological advances may be, if the companies aren’t able to market the benefits car buyers can reap from them then they are going to remain in demo mode for another decade. Te Japanese have widely been seen as the electronics world’s most consistently innovative nation for many years so let’s hope that the rest of their car industry can follow Nissan’s lead and not only continue their attempt to revolutionise how we drive our cars (or how our cars drive us) but continue to ensure that the wider media and the general public are kept informed of not only what they are doing in the field of automated safety, but why they are doing it.


THE VIEW Foreword Thinking

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