DISCOVER AUTONOMOUS DRIVING POTENTIAL IN JAPAN
DISCOVER AUTONOMOUS DRIVING POTENTIAL IN JAPAN Japan’s automotive industry is still playing catch-up in the field of autonomous driving and is likely to retake the lead within the coming years as it is a highly prioritized area for the government and companies alike. Swedish companies in automotive related industries with unique products or services should examine opportunities arising from Japan’s ambitions within autonomous driving. Japan has an Olympic dream - that Japan by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be able to amaze the world again by showcasing the future of travel; state-of-the-art self-driving cars. Only days prior to the first Tokyo Olympics in 1964 did the groundbreaking high-speed railway Shinkansen go into service. Shinkansen was able to reduce the duration of the trip between Tokyo and Osaka, Japan’s two main economic centers, by more than 3 hours. The Olympic organizing committee has publicly stated that the 2020 Olympics is not only a sports event, but also an opportunity to showcase innovative technologies and a symbol for revitalizing the economy. Despite being a leader in many industrial fields, Japanese companies still struggle to remain at the forefront of innovation in competition with international peers. The Japanese government has launched a Cross-ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program (SIP) led by the Council for Science, Technology and Innovation. The program has identified 10 key areas to address the most pressing social problems and stimulate the Japanese economy, one of them being automated driving systems with 2.5 billion JPY invested in 2014, 2015 respectively and 2.7 billion in 2016. Investment plans of the government indicate similar levels of R&D spending annually through 2020.