Hottest Innovations From The Automotive World – Made in Japan


NEPCON made its debut in the city of Nagoya on September 5, 2018. And as has been the case with every edition of the show, this one also lived up to the expectation of being a platform that provides insights into technology of the future.

-By Atul Goel

1st NEPCON JAPAN Nagoya 2018I was lucky to have made it to NEPCON Nagoya as a lot of flights were affected due to typhoon Jebi. But I consider myself fortunate as it gave me a chance to witness some of the hottest new tech in the field of automotive electronics. Major technology companies had put up their booths displaying latest in the world of automotive tech. The major themes on display were ADAS, IoT in automotive, improvement in driving safety, power management and vehicle control systems of EVs etc.

Sensors for autonomous vehicles


Some of the top companies in the world displayed their automotive solutions which were aimed at making automobiles smarter and managing power better in EVs. Sensors form the backbone of any smart system. Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) require numerous and integrated sensors to accurately determine situational assessment and action implementation.

Right from the start of the autonomous vehicle revolution, there are broadly three types of sensors being used in these vehicles. They are cameras, radar, and LiDAR. But apart from these, OEMs are now experimenting with some other sensors also that capture readings that enhance the safety of driving. One sensor worth mentioning here is the Bending Sensor. This sensor recognizes the biological load and muscle vibration, making it possible to improve the reliability of touch detection by accurately distinguishing between human contact and thing contact. This sensor was showcased by Murata Manufacturing along with other products like a wide range of connectivity modules and rechargeable battery for connected cars, sensors for autonomous vehicles, components for EVs, gyro sensors, solutions for ‘shared & service’ etc. Analog Devices had an Ultra Low Power & Low Power Sensor System Solution – ADXL362

After commercializing image sensors for automotive use, back in 2014, Sony Semiconductor Solutions had exhibited automotive image sensors for safety of autonomous driving. They launched a new AI-based image sensor called ‘The Safety Cocoon’. It’s a safe-zone concept in which vehicle safety is secured in various daily driving situations by detecting 360 degrees around the vehicle, enabling early preparation to evade risk.

Power management in EVs

With EVs gaining popularity worldwide, more and more innovations are being rolled out keeping this segment in mind. At the event also, a lot of companies had displayed power management and battery management solutions for EVs.

Ricoh Electronic Devices had displayed their range of power management solutions for the automotive sector. It included high voltage battery management system, voltage tracking and detection, safety, body control, EPS etc.

Keihin Corporation had exhibited a vehicle control system for electric vehicles. It included power control unit, battery management systems, voltage sensors etc.

On-the-fly data collection and transfer

There were some interesting solutions displayed for in-vehicle data collection and transferring that wirelessly for test purposes. Advantest demonstrated an innovative Wireless Data Logger called ‘AirLogger’. This system can measure temperature of moving objects wirelessly and send measurement data to a PC for display and saving.

Other innovations

Nexty Electronics Corporation premiered a simulation environment that combines battery and motor, vehicle dynamics models focusing on EV/Autonomous cars. It can be applied to HILS and MILS as it has been built on models with small number of parameters and a light calculation load

In addition to the above, they also introduced a multi-frequency, multi-GNSS receiver supporting QZSS. This system has been developed by Magellan Systems Japan, Inc. This receiver can accurately output centimeter level position data by utilizing the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS), commonly known as Michibiki. The receiver does not require any reference station and its structure realizes simplicity and low cost.

Nagoya is an automotive manufacturing and shipping hub in central Honshu, Japan. Therefore, it was natural that NEPCON decided to have Automotive World 2018 at Nagoya. This was my second trip to Japan, though, first to Nagoya. Having been to Tokyo before, I must say that Nagoya is vastly different from Tokyo in terms of the kind of people you get to meet and interact with. While you can easily find English speaking/understanding people in Tokyo, it’s a rarity in Nagoya. Less than 20% of the booths at the exhibition had product literature available in English. But the whole automotive ecosystem is so big in Nagoya that the show was able to attract relevant local audience in huge numbers. Japan, overall, has been in the top three of the countries with most cars manufactured since the 1960s




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