Japan


Toyota Updates Concept-i, e-Palette Autonomous EVs For 2020 Tokyo Olympics Carscoops

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Toyota will roll out a fleet of approximately 3,700 vehicles for the 2020 Olympics, 90 percent of which will be electrified. The Japanese automaker says it aims to achieve "the lowest emissions target level of any official vehicle fleet used at the Olympic and Paralympic Games." Following the reveal of the Accessible People Mover (APM) specially designed shuttle, Toyota has released details about two models modified for the Olympics: the e-Palette and Concept-i electric vehicles. The e-Palette is battery-electric shuttle with Level 4 autonomous driving capability that supports smooth transport over short distances. It features a low-floor and electrically-operated platform that leaves little to no gap or opening between the curb and the bus at stops.


Harnessing AI, machine learning tools The Manila Times

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Over the last few years, organizations have been building development operations (DevOps) teams to improve application development for the cloud and to enhance business agility. This trend is seeing a sharp rise especially in APAC markets, according to a Forrester report, DevOps is gaining momentum in markets such as Japan, China, India, South Korea and Singapore, as businesses believe it is key to catching up with the digital transformation wave and improve their business. Digital transformation being a journey, organizations strive to build sustenance and have a seamless business continuity, but DevOps teams often find lack of transparency due to disparate tools and data impeding this objective. This calls for a continuously evolving system with application of logic and reasoning (AIOps) in identifying and fixing problems. The value of AI, machine learning Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the recent times show the value, automation could bring to business processes and decision-making.


Consumers International publishes new research on consumer experiences of Artificial Intelligence - Consumers International

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Consumers International has released a new study on consumer experiences of artificial intelligence (AI) and the ways in which AI enabled services shape their consumer journeys and experiences, and consumer outcomes. The report'Artificial Intelligence: consumer experiences in new technology' contains a summary of new findings about the consumer experience of AI from IPSOS Global's participatory research with families and individuals in India, Australia and Japan, and insights from interviews with expert stakeholders from the region. It also incorporates the results of the multi-stakeholder roundtable held in Singapore in March 2019, where consumer organisations, businesses, academics and regulators discussed how AI enabled technology can deliver the best possible outcomes for consumers, whilst recognising and mitigating against potential challenges and risks.


Toyota group firms test out labor-saving prototype products at Gifu shopping mall

The Japan Times

Major component-makers of the Toyota group have launched an experiment of letting consumers and shop staff try their products under development at a shopping mall in the city of Gifu. Osaka-based Jtekt Corp. and Aisin Seiki Co., based in Kariya, Aichi Prefecture, introduced products designed to help reduce burdens on shoppers and staff at the Colorful Town Gifu commercial complex. After the experiment, which will run until the end of this month, user feedback will be reflected in the development of next-generation products. At a Nitori Co. outlet, a furniture and interior shop, a store staffer wore a Power Assist Suit while removing a large cardboard box from a push cart and putting it on a shelf. The suit is a Jtekt-developed wearable device that reduces the strain on the back when lifting heavy objects.


Toyota has plenty for robots to do during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

The Japan Times

When athletes and organizers descend on Tokyo for the 2020 Olympic Games, they'll be ferried around in autonomous cars, while torch relay runners will be accompanied by AI-equipped cars. Robots will ferry javelins and hammers. All told, Toyota Motor Corp. will provide 3,700 vehicles, including dozens of self-driving cars, about 500 fuel-cell vehicles and 850 battery-electric cars to the international sports competition. As a top sponsor of the Tokyo Olympics and an automaker facing a murky future when gasoline-powered engines will fade away, Toyota is doing everything it can to market its transition into an eventual provider of on-demand transportation for consumers and businesses, instead of being merely an industrial manufacturer. "We want to use the Olympics and Paralympics that happen every two years as a milestone," Masaaki Ito, general manager of Toyota's Olympic and Paralympic Division, said in an interview.


Japanese-language students from South Asian countries see plunge in visa approval rates

The Japan Times

NAGOYA – The approval rate for visa applications by nationals of countries such as Myanmar and Bangladesh to study at Japanese-language schools from April is sharply down from the same month last year, school operators in Japan said Wednesday. The plunge in the percentage of visas that were approved appears to reflect efforts to crack down on foreign nationals who enter the nation to work under the guise of being students. A survey by the Japanese Language School Association in Tokyo showed that student visas were granted to just 15 percent of applicants from Myanmar, down sharply from the 76 percent approval rate seen last year, and to 21 percent of Bangladeshi applicants, down from 61 percent. The success rate for Sri Lankan applicants was 21 percent, down from 50 percent. The survey drew responses from 327 of the 708 Japanese-language schools throughout the country and collected figures regarding applications for student resident status from April, when such applications peak with the start of the new academic year.


Japanese team developing AI-based system to forecast chance of tsunami and scale of damage

The Japan Times

Drawing lessons from one of the worst disasters in the nation's history, a team of Japanese researchers is developing an artificial intelligence-based tsunami-forecasting system set for release in fiscal 2020 that could help limit loss of life and property in future calamities. In March 2011, massive tsunami 30 meters high triggered by a 9.1 magnitude earthquake destroyed a large swath of the Tohoku coastline, taking not only residents but also entire communities and businesses by surprise. The researchers hope the new system will help municipalities and companies nationwide better prepare for any future calamities and prevent related disasters, such as the triple core meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant that resulted from the tsunami. The team, made up of researchers from risk management consultancy Tokio Marine & Nichido Risk Consulting Co. and the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Resilience are working on the nation's first system for predicting the likelihood of tsunami based on location, as well as the scope of damage in areas expected to be hit. "The existing forecasting system only estimates the maximum height of a tsunami but not its likelihood … and sometimes there are no available measures to prepare for the worst-case scenario," a spokesman for Tokio Marine & Nichido Risk Consulting said by phone.


Japan offers U.S. its robotics tech for use in denuclearizing North Korea

The Japan Times

Japan has told the United States it is ready to provide its robot technology for use in dismantling nuclear and uranium enrichment facilities in North Korea as Washington and Pyongyang pursue further denuclearization talks, government sources said Friday. As Japan turns to the remotely controlled robots it has developed to decommission reactors crippled by the triple core meltdown in 2011 at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, it believes the same technology can be used in North Korea, according to the sources. The offer is part of Japan's efforts to make its own contribution to the denuclearization talks amid concern that Tokyo could be left out of the loop as the United States and North Korea step up diplomacy. Tokyo has already told Washington it would shoulder part of the costs of any International Atomic Energy Agency inspections of North Korean facilities and dispatch its own nuclear experts to help. The scrapping of nuclear facilities, such as the Yongbyon complex, which has a graphite-moderated reactor, will come into focus in forthcoming working-level talks between Washington and Pyongyang.


Japanese researchers build robotic tail – video

The Guardian

A team of researchers at Japan's Keio university have built a robotic tail. Dubbed'Arque', the grey one-metre device mimics tails such as those of cheetahs and monkeys, used to keep balance while running and climbing


Kyoto temple puts faith in robot priest, drawing praise from Japanese but scorn from Westerners

The Japan Times

KYOTO – A 400-year-old temple is attempting to hot-wire interest in Buddhism with a robotic priest it believes will change the face of the religion -- despite critics comparing the android to "Frankenstein's monster." The android Kannon, based on the Buddhist deity of mercy, preaches sermons at Kodaiji temple in Kyoto, and its human colleagues predict that with artificial intelligence it could one day acquire unlimited wisdom. "This robot will never die; it will just keep updating itself and evolving," said priest Tensho Goto. It can store knowledge forever and limitlessly. "With AI we hope it will grow in wisdom to help people overcome even the most difficult troubles. It's changing Buddhism," he added.