It’s coming up to almost three years since I moved to Toyota to take up the general manager role at the Advanced R&D Engineering company. Then subsequently also seconded to my role as VP at TRI-AD, Toyota’s automated driving software company. No specific reason for the silence over these couple of years: mainly that of being fully involved in the development of the new Lexus flagship model as well as a radically new platform “AMP” that could revolutionise how the world develops applications for autonomy.
Building safe transportation solutions and applications is of course a lengthy process. So it’s hardly surprising that governments in the rural, suburban and city areas are looking for easy-to-use frameworks and platforms in order to help them get ahead. We really need a set of tools and software services they can easily be plugged together and developed by any web developer. Ideally this would be combined with a vehicle hailing system that would drop off and run just-in-time technical services for developers, then drive the vehicle off when you’re done. Lacking that, possibly running a simulation environment for the same. In the same way that you would develop/test a web application, then preview it in your integrated development environment. Lots of interesting technology on the horizon so just keep an eye out for something new.
Looking back, I feel that over the last three years experimentation in the area of autonomy especially at a local level here in Japan has become commonplace. Those days in 2017 when I was wondering why things were not moving as fast as they were. Fast forward to today, local governments are really active in trying to understand the parameters of what this new mode of transportation can offer them. This really is a testament to the innovative spirit of local Japanese governments struggling under the twin burdens of a decreasing active taxpaying population and offering ever increasing quality of service of public transportation.
Originally when I started this blog it was meant to be more of a documentary – or a collection of research pieces – on as many regions of Japan where I could find concrete examples of autonomy experimentation. Now that that has become more commonplace, it’s time for revision of what this site is about.
Some of you may be aware that I have a Twitter blog that I update fairly regularly. But I feel that the minimal character count available makes it difficult to do anything other than share links showing trends or posting short quotes/comments. I very much feel restricted by that format and that is why am coming back to long-form on this site. Beyond that, this site is also about me as a person. So I plan to use it for multiple different purposes, as opposed to just focused on autonomy from a technical perspective. I’d also like to share items from my other interests such as music, as well as any other items that come to mind. I’ll be revamping the look and feel of the site over the next weeks and months, but it will be the starting of a new chapter. Hopefully it will be useful for you, the reader. If not, let me know in the comments or via the feedback function. Until then.