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Honda will sell 100 of its level 3 self-driving Legend sedans in Japan


Late last year, Honda made a big pledge to become the first automaker to mass produce cars with level 3 self-driving. It's now making good on that promise by selling 100 of its Legend sedans that pack its Sensing Elite autonomous driving features, which allow the vehicle to take over the wheel to navigate congested highways, starting March 5 in Japan. But access to the latest tech won't come cheap: The limited-edition model will cost a cool 11 million yen ($103,000). With the car in control in heavy traffic, Honda says you'll be be able to kick back and watch TV or a DVD on the navigation screen, helping to ease the "stress" or "fatigue" that comes with navigating gridlock. The so called "level 3 Traffic Jam Pilot" option has the capabilities to control acceleration, braking and steering in certain conditions.

Honda to start offering world's first level-3 autonomous car on Friday

The Japan Times

Honda Motor Co. said Thursday it will start offering from Friday the revamped Legend sedan in Japan equipped with "level-3" autonomous technology as the auto industry faces intensifying competition to develop driverless vehicles and a collision-free society. It is the world's first vehicle to hit the market that allows the driver to engage in different tasks such as reading and watching TV when the car is in certain conditions such as congested traffic on expressways, the Japanese transport ministry said. But in the case of an emergency the driver needs to take full control of the vehicle. "Autonomous technology has the potential to reduce the driver's burden while eliminating human errors that cause traffic accidents," Yoichi Sugimoto, executive chief engineer of Honda R&D Co., said in an online press conference. Honda plans to offer 100 units domestically for a suggested retail price of ¥11 million ($103,000) that will only be available on a three-year lease.

Robot pets help ease virus isolation in Japan

The Japan Times

Nami Hamaura says she feels less lonely working from home thanks to her singing companion Charlie, one of a new generation of cute and clever Japanese robots whose sales are booming during the pandemic. Smart home assistants such as Amazon's Alexa have found success worldwide, but tech firms in Japan are reporting huge demand for more humanlike alternatives, as people seek solace during coronavirus isolation. "I felt my circle became very small," said 23-year-old Hamaura, a recent graduate who has worked almost entirely remotely since April 2020. With socializing limited, life in her first job at a Tokyo trading company was nothing like she had imagined. So she adopted Charlie, a mug-sized robot with a round head, red nose and flashing bow-tie, who converses with its owner in song.

Asia: Becoming a Powerhouse of Artificial Intelligence


There has been a rapid increase in the adoption and development of artificial intelligence across the globe. Business platforms are depending on AI for better growth, efficiency, and digital transformation. Cutting-edge technologies like 5G will escalate the use cases of AI across industries. According to McKinsey Global Survey 2020, 50% of respondents reported that their companies have adopted AI in at least one business function. The global leaders in AI adoption, research, and development include Asian countries like China, Singapore, and Japan.

Pets: Cats are 'too socially inept' to stand with their owners, study warns

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Unlike their canine counterparts, cats may be'too socially inept' to stand with their owners against someone treating their human poorly, a study has warned. Researchers from Japan found that our feline friends will as gladly take food from someone who hinders their owner as one who helps them or acts neutrally. However, this might not be a simple case of treachery, the team said -- instead, it is possible that cats cannot read human social interactions the same way dogs can. Domestic cats evolved from solitary hunters, meaning that they likely lacked the kind of original social skills dogs were able to build on during domestication. Unlike their canine counterparts, cats may be'too socially inept' to stand with their owners against someone treating their human poorly, a study has warned (stock image) In the study, animal behaviour scientist Hitomi Chijiiwa of Kyoto University and colleagues had cat owners try -- unsuccessfully -- to open a transparent container to take out an object while their cats watched.

Here's how opinions on the impact of artificial intelligence differ around the world


As with AI, Asian publics surveyed stand out for their relatively positive views of the impact of job automation. Many Asian publics have made major strides in the development of robotics and AI. The South Korean and Singaporean manufacturing industries, for instance, have the highest and second highest robot density of anywhere in the world. Singapore is also pursuing its goal of becoming the world's first "smart nation," and the government has identified AI as one of many key development areas necessary to reach that goal. Japan has also long been a world leader in robotics manufacturing and development, and robots and AI are increasingly integrated into everyday life there to help with tasks ranging from household chores to elder care.

Japanese companies ramping up use of artificial intelligence, report says


Fox Business Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on TOKYO - Japanese companies are ramping up the use of artificial intelligence and other advanced technology to reduce waste and cut costs in the pandemic, and looking to score some sustainability points along the way. Disposing of Japan's more than 6 million tonnes in food waste costs the world's No.3 economy some 2 trillion yen ($19 billion) a year, government data shows. With the highest food waste per capita in Asia, the Japanese government has enacted a new law to halve such costs from 2000 levels by 2030, pushing companies to find solutions.

Machine learning picks promising solar cell material


More than 200,000 candidate materials were virtually screened by the system at Osaka University in Japan. The team of researchers then synthesized one of the most promising, and found its properties were consistent with the system's predictions. Machine learning allows computers to make predictions about complex situations, as long as the algorithms are supplied with sufficient example data. This is especially useful for complicated problems in material science such as designing molecules for organic solar cells, the researchers said, as it can depend on a vast array of factors and unknown molecular structures. It could take humans years to sift data to find underlying patterns, and even longer to test all the possible candidate combinations of'donor' polymers and'acceptor' molecules that make up organic solar cells.

Yahoo Japan operator merges with Line to take on foreign tech giants

The Japan Times

Z Holdings Corp., operator of Yahoo Japan online services, and messaging app provider Line Corp. merged on Monday to expand their online services globally as they aim to better compete with U.S. and Chinese tech giants. With a combined user base of about 150 million in Japan, the merger of Z Holdings, a SoftBank Group Corp. subsidiary, and Line will make it one of the biggest information technology companies in the country. "We would like to launch a global smartphone app" in the future to expand online services worldwide with the help of global tech firms in which SoftBank Group's nearly $100 billion Vision Fund has invested, said Takeshi Idezawa, Z Holdings co-CEO and former Line president, at a news conference. Kentaro Kawabe, the other Z Holdings co-CEO said, "We can offer a wider range of services, such as search engine, e-commerce and online financial operations, than those provided by GAFA -- Google LLC, Apple Inc., Facebook Inc. and The surviving entity is Z Holdings, under which Yahoo Japan and Line operate their respective businesses.

AI tools can drive big efficiencies in oil and gas


The role of artificial intelligence (AI) is evolving, especially in industrial organizations such as oil and gas, where data acts as a critical enabler to provide a competitive advantage. Industrial organizations operating in the fields of mining, oil, and gas; and marine, are going through a radical transformation and seeking innovative ways to optimize performance with minimized risk. The volatile and ever-competitive nature of the industrial companies demands them to identify new and innovative sustainable models to stay profitable, grow and unlock efficiencies. The situation has become more challenging in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. According to a Capgemini research, over 50% of the European manufacturers, 30% in Japan, 28% in the USA, and 25% in South Korea implement AI solutions.