Top Self Driving Startups in Japan
This decade has seen an accession by Japanese entrepreneurs in the sphere of autonomous vehicles, a market previously crowded by American startups. This has been fostered by the keen interest displayed by the Japanese government in the development of autonomous vehicles. For one thing, the government has outlined a decisive legal framework for public testing and regulated development of the industry. Japan is on the path to becoming a global leader in the evolution and adoption of self-driving cars and related technology. The below-mentioned startups and companies are the lead runners in the race.
Based in Tokyo, Japan, Dynamic Map Platform (DMP) is a developer of high precision 3D maps for automated driving vehicles. It aims to provide a software support system to users for traffic regulation and disaster prevention. Since its inception in 2016, Dynamic Map Platform has been able to raise USD 240M (24.7B JPY) over 3 rounds of funding. The latest round was raised on 31 October 2019 by 8 investors including Mitsubishi Electric, Japan Infrastructure Initiative Company and more. The company also recently acquired shares of US-based Ushr to enter the North American market.
Developer of stereo camera systems for adoption in autonomous cars. The extensively applicable high-speed 3D measurement system called Eyesight provides an integrated car driving assistant system using SRIM (Stereo Range Imager) Technology. The Kanagawa based company has been able to raise USD 68M (680M JPY) to date in a series of 2 venture and 1 corporate funding round. Fuji Electronics and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Venture Capital are the most recent out of the 5 investors of ITD Lab.
Developer of IoT technology solutions for automobiles. The tool collects and analyzes driving data of a car from IoT devices that capture, analyze, and further visualize it with smart application services. The company has managed to raise USD 340M (3.4B JPR) over five rounds with a recent Series C funding. It is a safety-focussed core product and uses big data-driven technology. The company offers:
- DriveOps: a technology solution facilitates associations to track GPS travel data of their drivers and vehicles, obtain notifications about vehicle maintenance;
- DriveOn: a mobile application that enables individuals to get information on physics (mileage, speed, torque, rpm) and failures related to their driving.
- They had two upgrades. The first upgrade is SmartSense for Speeding for Weather Conditions. The second is SmartSense for Sitting Duck, which will “detect and report” vehicles that are parked/idle on the side of the road or in some other “potentially hazardous location.”
Provider of open-source software for self-driving technology in Tokyo, Japan. They have managed to raise over USD 100M in a massive Series A funding round. The round was led by Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance. They provide a wide variety of services using the open-source autonomous operating system Autoware. Optimization of architecture by domain- driven design has led to the development of their service. Therefore, the salient feature of FMS(Fleet Management System) is the automatic operation of the car. It is also possible to manage the hybrid operation model. The patrol operating model goes around a fixed point endlessly.
Established in the year 2001, ZMP is a developer of autonomous driving technology in Tokyo. Currently working on multiple joint projects to aid the automation industry – Sony Electric Vehicle. As Sony foresees huge potential in this emerging self-driving automotive industry, therefore it invested USD 842K in ZMP. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, ZMP plans to release PATRO, “autonomous security, and disinfection robot”, it helps to spray disinfectants over large surfaces, hallways and helps to build managers with advanced security functions.
Aside from these startups, there has been the introduction of a few major Japanese companies in the form of publicly listed companies, joint ventures and previously established businesses, in the autonomous driving sector :
Developer of the Smart Cockpit technology, Clarion Company is based in Saitama, Japan. It provides solutions for In-Vehicle Information systems and has a capital of USD 2.034M (20,346M JPR). The company provides driving assistance and internal monitoring system with a navigation interface supported by the Quad View visualization technology. The SurroundEye feature incorporates computer vision, sonar-based detection and sensor cleaning. Clarion has a huge international market across Asia, Europe, as well as the Americas in the avenue of autonomous cars. Clarion Company was acquired by Faurecia for USD 710M on 5 October 2018.
A joint venture between Toyota and SoftBank based in Tokyo, Japan. The company is a developer of Autono-Maas (autonomous mobility as a service) providing a platform to operate self-driving cars with the e-Palette car. The JV has a total funding amount of USD 99.7M (997.PM JPR) over 2 corporate rounds. Monet Technologies is funded by 5 investors including Toyota Motors, Honda Motors and Suzuki Motors among others.
The company is a public company based in Tokyo, Japan. Renesas Electronics has recently entered the autonomous vehicle market with its Automotive System Development Division. It has combined its R-car automated Soc (system-on-chip) with this new framework to provide automated driving assistance. Nissan Motors has adopted this high-performance automotive technology. It acquired US chip company IDT for USD 6.7B on 10 September 2018.
Touch panel developer and manufacturer, Shoei is a Japanese company based in Gunma. It is a private company with a capital of USD 10M (100M JPR). Autonomous cars use touch panels for navigation and environment management systems. As per publicly available sources, Shoei was last funded in October 2009 through a corporate round by Minato Holdings.
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