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Interim Report of the Study Group on New Mobility Services Brought About by IoT and AI Releases

October 17, 2018

From the viewpoint of Japan’s economic growth and industrial sophistication, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) considers it important to vitalize new mobility services or Mobility as a Service (MaaS) as a new service that industries are able to provide thanks to taking advantage of IoT and AI. Based on this awareness of this problem, in June 2018, METI launched a Study Group on New Mobility as a Service Brought About by IoT and AI, and since then, the study group has been advancing information and opinion exchanges with experts and companies and holding repeated discussions on current situations and challenges, future directions of efforts and other issues. METI hereby releases the interim report which summaries the discussion results by the study group.

1. Background

As the current waves brought about by the fourth industrial revolution arrive to the field of mobility, mobility services taking advantage of IoT and AI as new means are becoming popular. Advancement of new mobility services is expected to make transfer more comfortable with higher added value. In addition, it will also be expected to contribute to the vitalization of a broad range of industries if consumer data, which is aggregated at touchpoints with consumers, is applied to a variety of services, e.g., goods purchases or trips.

This trend has been advancing in a form in which a variety of entities, e.g., ICT companies, the automobile industry, startups and municipalities, participate in the efforts by existing transportation businesses. This may bring a great shift in the structures of industrial players involved in mobility in the future; in particular, it may cause significant changes in ideal approaches to the automobile industry along with the commercialization of autonomous driving technologies.

2. Details of the interim report and future efforts

The interim report organizes the global trends in new mobility services and, based on this, provides well-organized current situations and challenges in comparison with global trends. This uncovers the trends started among businesses that intend to start new mobility services. However, it is difficult to say that these services are fully disseminated across Japan compared to  overseas. According to the results of past interviews with Japanese companies, the study group found that, looking at the suppliers’ side alone, this situation is caused by factors brought about by current business situations as well as institutional factors.

In light of these situations, the interim report streamlines the future directions of efforts that Japan should take, focusing on three key points as below:

  1. Development of infrastructure for promotion of digital investment as well as further collaboration and utilization of data
  2. Promotion of business collaboration between conventional businesses and startups or different industries
  3. Support of regional areas that intend to take on new efforts in collaboration with companies

Taking advantage of the interim report, the study group will advance information and opinion exchanges with a variety of sectors, e.g., companies, municipalities and experts, and will enrich its discussions. In parallel, it will advance specific efforts, e.g., measures for supporting startups involving the mobility industry in coordination with the efforts under the J-Startup program and those for supporting municipalities that proactively intend to take on new efforts in collaboration with companies.

Moreover, regarding governmental efforts, METI will cooperate with other ministries and agencies and will proactively contribute to holding discussions on establishment of an Industry-Government Council on Next-Generation Mobility/Smart City, an organization that will be led by the Secretariat of the Headquarters for Japan’s Economic Revitalization under the Cabinet Office.

Furthermore, concerning the integration of MaaS and automobile driving technologies (i.e., unmanned service vehicles with Level 4 or more autonomous driving technologies), the issue on which the interim report does not focus, METI will establish a new working group (WG) under the “Subcommittee on Autonomous Driving Technologies under the METI Minister Round Table Conference on Connected Industries” (or “Subcommittee on Business Discussions on Autonomous Driving Technologies”) as soon as possible, aiming to discuss necessary efforts, including development of systems. METI will release more information separately soon after the details are fixed.


Division in Charge

Automobile Division, Manufacturing Industries Bureau