Mitsubishi Using Military Technology To Develop Self-Driving Cars
New tech is scheduled to arrive in 2017by Ciprian Florea, on
About two decades ago, most automakers were investing their money and energy into hybrid and all-electric technology. Now that nearly all important automakers offer at least one vehicle that can be labeled as green, autonomous driving has surfaced as the new trend and probably the next big thing in the automotive industry. Several companies have announced plans to develop self-driving cars, including General Motors, Nissan, Tesla, Mercedes-Benz, and even Google. Now, Mitsubishi is now looking to join in on the (costly) fun.
And, needless to say, the Japanese brand is taking a slightly different route compared to it competitors.
According to Bloomberg, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, one of the core companies of Mitsubishi and a supplier of air-to-air missiles to Japan’s armed forces, is adapting technologies it developed for military use to help self-driving cars detect obstacles and avoid collisions.
Speaking at a Mitsubishi test course for autonomous vehicles in Ako city, Katsumi Adachi, the Senior Chief Engineer at Mitsubishi’s automotive equipment division, said that the company is working to adapt systems such as millimeter-wave radars, sonars, sensors, and cameras developed to guide missiles.
"All we have to do is to put together the components that we already have. None of our competitors have such a wide array of capabilities, said Adachi, adding that he is confident Mitsubishi will be able to offer a system superior to those developed by Continental, Denso Corp, and Hitach Automotive, which have a head start in the business.
Details as to what Mitsubishi is planning to bring to the market are scant, but Adachi said Mitsubishi’s system will arrive next year and will benefit from the company’s expertise in high-precision sensors and electric power steering technology.
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Why it matters
Although we’ve seen several concept cars drive without direct human input in recent years, and automakers have made significant step toward implementing the technology, the self-driving vehicle is still in its infancy. Mitsubishi seems to bring a new approach into the equation by putting its military knowledge to good use. It’s hard to tell if the Japanese will succeed in such a short time and come up with a functional system in 2017, but adapting a system used to guide missiles seems like a brilliant idea. Guiding military missiles requires high-precision instruments and technology, and although I don’t know much about it, I’m pretty sure those systems would do a great job keeping road-going vehicles on a preset path and safe from collisions and other hazards. Of course, companies developing self-driving cars have other important issues such as development costs and the liability placed on them or the road infrastructure, but high-precision military technology is good start when it comes to reliable autonomous systems.
Read our full review on the Mitsubishi EX Concept here.
Source: Automotive News