July 21, 2020
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has been advancing activities for achieving new mobility services (distribution MaaS) in the distribution industry. As part of these activities, METI opened a call for applicant companies as operators of efforts for achieving distribution MaaS and selected successful applicants. In response, the commercial vehicles industry will cooperate with industrial players, e.g., consignors and transportation companies, and facilitate efforts which contribute to solving challenges in the distribution industry.
1. FY2020 efforts for “distribution MaaS”
Taking into consideration the current situations and challenges surrounding the distribution industry, such as chronic excess demand and labor shortages, METI inaugurated the Study Group on New Mobility Services in the Field of Distributions (“Study Group on Distribution MaaS”) in FY2019, bringing together experts, representatives of manufacturers of commercial vehicles, consignors, distribution companies, IT solutions companies, and other private companies, and, on April 20, 2020, the study group compiled the following three future directions of efforts which the commercial vehicles industry should tackle:
- Establishing a system for data linkage on truck operations;
- Enhancing efficiencies of transportation and distribution by making the amount of cargoes and other data visible and introducing joint transportation services; and
- Examining performance involving utilization of electrified commercial vehicles and energy management.
In FY2020, based on these future directions, the commercial vehicles industry will cooperate with consignors, transportation companies, IT solutions companies and other private companies and will facilitate efforts which contribute to solving challenges in the distribution industry.
2. Selecting applicants under the call
From June 5, 2020, METI opened a call for applicant companies as operators of FY2020 efforts for achieving “distribution MaaS,” which was commissioned to the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (hereinafter referred to as “AIST”). In response to the call, AIST received eight applications and selected six companies as successful applicants below through strict examination by outside experts and other stakeholders.
(1) Establishing a system for data linkage on truck operations
- The selected company aims to: study use cases, in which the Japanese FMS standards* are expected to be used, to overcome challenges that consignors, transportation companies and other companies are facing; study a system for data linkage on truck operations owned by multiple commercial vehicle manufacturers; identify data items on operation control of vehicles; and study specifications of the standard API,** such as formats.
Selected company: Toyota Tsusho Corporation
(2) Enhancing efficiencies of transportation and distribution by making the amount of cargoes and other data visible and introducing joint transportation services
The selected company aims to make visible not only the amount of cargoes and empty spaces in warehouses by making use of depth sensors but also changes in loading efficiencies of trucks running along planned distribution routes and thereby to study enhancement of efficiencies in transportation and distribution services.
Selected company: AISIN AW Co., Ltd.
The selected company aims to improve loading efficiencies using data linkage of, e.g., position information on vehicles and cargoes to be loaded and to formulate and examine models for assessing operation quality making use of records on maintenance and operation services and other data in collaboration with insurance companies.
Selected company: Mitsubishi Logisnext Co., Ltd.
(3) Examining performance and other facts involving utilization of electrified commercial vehicles and energy management
The selected company aims to study the performance required for light freight EVs and to conduct simulations and demonstrations using actual vehicles for developing models of energy management and operation services, which are necessary for enhancing economic performance.
Selected company: MITSUBA Corporation
For the purpose of introducing electrified commercial vehicles, the selected company aims to study ideal disposition of charging stations (for joint use), conduct a demonstration test for EV operations and charging operations, identify challenges in introducing electrified commercial vehicles, examine economic performance and study efficient charging methods.
Selected company: Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc.
The selected company focuses on differences between diesel buses and EV buses (e.g., time required for filling tanks with fuel or charging with electricity, operation control of busses, e.g., extra operations, and based on this, it aims to conduct simulations and technical demonstrations for energy management systems in which operation control of buses and energy management are integrated and to establish a regional model for introducing EV buses.
Selected company: Michinori Holdings, Inc.
Through these efforts, METI will strive to contribute to solving challenges in the distribution industry.
*1. The term “FMS” is an acronym for “fleet management system,” which represents the standards for data on truck operations necessary for operation control of vehicles. Concerning items of such data that they should convey to the public, four manufacturers of commercial vehicles in Japan have already agreed on their future directions that they will comply with essential items of the European standards. They will advance discussions on addition of new data items that are necessary for operation control of vehicles in Japan as well as specifications, e.g., formats.
**2. The term “API” is an acronym for “Application Programming Interface.”
- 1. Overview of the Demonstration Project for Distribution MaaS (in Japanese) (PDF:1,338KB)
- 2. Materials compiled by the study group (in Japanese)
Division in Charge
ITS and Autonomous Driving Promotion Office, Automobile Division, Manufacturing Industries Bureau