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February 22, 2019

Pacific Consultants, Oriental Consultants Global and SoftBank Corp. Sign MoU for US Road Maintenance Project that Uses Japanese Connected Car Technologies

Pacific Consultants Co., Ltd, Oriental Consultants Global Co., Ltd (OC Global) and SoftBank Corp. signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cooperate on the study of new road maintenance technologies using connected vehicles in Washington DC on February 22, 2019 (EST).

Center in the front: S. Hasegawa, Chairman (Pacific Consultants) Left in the front: J. Shibata, Exec. Officer (OC Global)
Right in the front: J. Miyakawa, Representative Director & CTO (SoftBank Corp.)
Left in the back: M.Yoshida, Director of the International Strategy Bureau of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan
Right in the back: K. Kobayashi, Minister of Economic Affairs, Embassy of Japan

Road infrastructure maintenance and monitoring costs are currently prohibitive in the United States. In this context, probe data*1 collection from connected cars*2 is projected to help simplify and reduce costs related to road maintenance. With this MoU, the three companies aim to receive orders for road maintenance in the US and will collaborate on studying technologies and commercialization. The three signatories will first develop new businesses related to IoT and big data in the US, and in the future consider deployment to other countries through Official Development Assistance and in Japan.

*1 Probe data: Data collected from connected cars, including location data
*2 Connected car: A vehicle equipped with sensors that can send information outside the vehicle to a variety of things using Internet networks

In 2018, Pacific Consultants Co., Ltd. led a project with support from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan for surveying the possible development of advanced systems using probe data in the US. This project was the catalyst for today’s MoU between the three companies. In addition to the three signatories, Honda Motor Co., Ltd., NEXCO-West USA, Inc., and the Foundation for MultiMedia Communications also participated in the signing ceremony. These companies have been working together to develop the new road maintenance technologies and probe car presented at the ceremony.

Demonstration at the Old Ambassador’s Residence

After the ceremony, the project members demonstrated this technology and a test ride of the probe car to more than 200 guests at the Old Ambassador’s Residence of the Embassy of Japan in the United States of America. Kenichi Kobayashi, Minister of Economic Affairs, Embassy of Japan participated in the exhibition, as did Mabito Yoshida, Director of the International Strategy Bureau of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan. From the American side, officials from the Departments of Transportation of Pennsylvania (PennDOT), Virginia (VDOT), and Maryland (MDOT) also attended the event.

With this MoU, Pacific Consultants Co., Ltd. and OC Global will utilize their collective project track record in infrastructure development in cooperation with SoftBank Corp., which has know-how in IoT and other technologies, to promote the study of technologies and commercialization for road infrastructure maintenance in the US.