The other day, I went to the 20th ITS World Congress Tokyo 2013, in which Sumitomo Electric participated. ITS stands for intelligent transport systems. Although the phrase originally meant advanced road traffic systems, it has been recently exceeding the boundary of automobiles and other transportation means, featuring a broader perspective of how to connect with our daily lives and how to create a better society.
Produced and improved by Newcomen and Watt, the steam engine began to be installed in the automobile, which subsequently enhanced its capability due to the invention of the gasoline engine. The launch of mass production of such an automobile in the 20th century allowed the vehicle to be widely used by the general public. It is not an exaggeration to say that the development of the automobile has changed society.
Displayed at the ITS World Congress were not only new technologies for automobiles and road transportation themselves, but also many other technologies regarding the use of big data generated from transportation and regarding energy management. The event was a good opportunity to gauge the possibilities for society in the near future.
When I began to work after graduating, there existed no smartphones or the Internet. Over the past 20 years, however, the technologies that I thought would be featured only in SF films have affected our way of working, generated new markets, and changed the lifestyle of the general public.
A good example is the automatic vehicle operation system, which is now attracting wide attention. Under this system, a driver enters his/her destination and sets the vehicle to auto-driving mode, with the vehicle driving itself all the way to the destination. If this system is put to practical use, there will be no need for the driver to drive the car, which will drastically change the forms of a wide variety of businesses relating to automobiles, such as the transportation and shipping industries. New technologies have the possibility of causing a big paradigm shift.
All staff members of the Sumitomo Electric Group are working hard every day, so that even if auto-driving-type automobiles start running through the streets in five or 10 years and such automobiles become the norm in a future society, we will be able to always provide products, technologies, and solutions essential to that society.