Highlight from Integrated Report
Based on our passion for innovation — an integral part of the Nisshinbo Group’s Corporate Philosophy — we are committed to contributing to society through our business activities, aiming to provide value that leads to a safer and more secure society for everyone. We are now harnessing innovation in the automotive field to develop new products for advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS).
Using in-house technology to help solve social issues
As an Environment and Energy Company group, the Nisshinbo
Group is working to help solve environmental issues and other
challenges faced by society by channeling management resources
into fields where it can make society safer and more secure. The
automotive field is one area where we are already making a difference
by supplying copper-free brake friction materials and parts
for fuel cell vehicles (carbon bipolar plates). We are now moving
into the field of ADAS by combining our strengths in wireless
communication technology and electronic parts fabrication.
The internet of things (IoT) is an emerging trend in society. That trend is also spreading to the automotive field, where companies are pushing ahead with the development of the connected car and autonomous driving systems that can automatically perceive their surroundings, make decisions and control the vehicle. Those systems require large numbers of sensors and radars, which have to be more precise than ever before.
Using the wireless communication and sensing technologies of Japan Radio Co., Ltd. and the electronic device fabrication technology of New Japan Radio Co., Ltd., the Nisshinbo Group is well-positioned to address those needs. To maximize the value offered by both companies, we are leveraging the relationships built up by the automobile brakes business with automakers and Tier 1 parts suppliers and rapidly stepping up research and development activities, aiming to become a supplier of key components in the coming ADAS era.
Japan Radio’s radar and sensing technologies hold the key to ADAS
Most ADAS currently rely on a combination of high-precision cameras
and radars to detect obstacles. Japan Radio’s radar technology is
highly regarded in the industry and we have teamed up with one
Tier 1 automotive parts suppliers in Europe to adapt and launch our
technology for automotive applications.
Japan Radio is also working on other development projects for next-generation transport support systems, such as 11th generation GPS receivers with centimeter-level positioning accuracy (current receivers only achieve meter-level accuracy), ultrasound sensors, radars to detect cars travelling in the wrong direction on expressways, and radar-based traffic counters (poor weather and glare affects the accuracy of current camera-based systems). Japan’s network of expressways already has various infrastructure in place to support those systems. Consequently, compared with other countries, Japan is well-placed to lead the global push towards autonomous driving on expressways.
The global market for ADAS is projected to reach ¥1 trillion in the 2020s. Based on that outlook, we see the potential for sales worth tens of billions of yen for each of the Group’s ADAS-related products from the late 2020s onward. Electronics companies are competing aggressively to develop ADAS products, but we believe the Nisshinbo Group can be one of the leaders in the field by harnessing its technologies and existing user base.
New Japan Radio making clear progress in the automotive field
New Japan Radio has been focusing on the promising field of
automotive electronics for some time. Previous growth categories
included power ICs for car navigation and car audio systems. As
part of a joint Nisshinbo Group development team, the company
has built closer links with automakers and Tier 1 parts suppliers.
Those efforts are now translating into higher sales of automotive parts in new application fields, such as system control, powertrain and power supplies for onboard cameras. The company’s sales of automotive electronic parts have doubled over the last few years, reaching around ¥10 billion in the fiscal year ended March 2017.
New Japan Radio also established a new business site in Frankfurt and secured VDA 6.3 certification, a Germany quality management system standard, in the fiscal year ended March 2017.
The company is now ready to start expanding its automotive parts business in Europe.
JRC Group’s Business Expansion Roadmap
Japan Radio, along with a Tier 1 Japanese automotive parts supplier,
helped to develop the world’s first GPS device for car navigation systems.
Under its JRC brand, the company also has a large share of the ETC market for motorbikes and the top share in the ETC market for imported cars.
Japan Radio’s 11th generation GPS receiver unit, due for release in 2018, achieves a step-change in positioning accuracy by reducing the margin of error from meters down to centimeters. The improved device is likely to play a key role in autonomous control for construction machinery, agricultural machinery and a wide range of other modes of transport, as well as passenger cars.
Meanwhile, Japan Radio’s radar technology for ships, weather observation and aircraft was developed from a completely different perspective to the approach used by conventional automotive parts suppliers. Our prototype automotive radar device is highly regarded by our Tier 1 supplier partner, which was surprised by the radar’s outstanding performance during testing.
In ADAS, vehicles need to recognize their surroundings, and radar is better-suited than cameras to that role because of excellent distance perception and an ability to operate in poor weather and detect obstacles.
Japan Radio will leverage its technologies and the Nisshinbo Group’s close links with automakers and Tier 1 suppliers to develop its ADAS business going forward.
Nisshinbo’s work in the field of autonomous driving has only just begun.