Remember back in the spring of 2017 when Mitsubishi Motors started talking up its autonomous vehicle technology? It’s okay if not, there actually hasn’t been a whole lot of news on self-driving technology from Mitsubishi Motors, or their subsidiary, Mitsubishi Electric, the department responsible for designing said autonomous technology in the first place. Based around several concepts – city infrastructure, GPS, cameras, and artificial intelligence – the Mobile Mapping System (MMS), as coined by Mitsubishi, is starting to go beyond just automobiles. Apparently, its implementation is much more simple than previously thought.
Mitsubishi Goes Autonomous
Mitsubishi Motors has yet to come out with their own self-driving vehicle as of yet, but their alliance with Renault-Nissan and the Alliance 2022 investment plan has a lot of focus on robotaxis and other transportation services. Mitsubishi Motors and Mitsubishi Electric have however debuted concepts at various auto shows when it comes to self-driving vehicles with artificial intelligence (A.I.).
The first concept was the Mitsubishi e-Evolution, debuting at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, and a revival of the “EVO” nameplate after the discontinuation of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution sports car. Said to be autonomous and built with A.I. integrated into the vehicle, the self-driving vehicle is programmed to take over driving responsibilities when the driver is unfit to drive or has difficulty, such as when driving in rain or fog. Some have gone so far as to say this is the new Mitsubishi Lancer crossover, but there hasn’t been much information on it as of yet.
Another concept to show up at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show was the Mitsubishi Emirai4 from Mitsubishi Electric. Designed to do the same thing, but with a different design, this concept also popped up during the 2018 Consumer Electronics show. Both vehicles use the Mobile Mapping System.
So why is the MMS making headlines now? Well, that’s because Mitsubishi Electric Corp. has made some adjustments that not only improve the MMS, but make it suitable for other forms of transportation. Earlier, the MMS technology was a system built on developing and interacting with a 3D map of the driver’s surroundings in real-time, built from data collected from the city infrastructure. This was done to constantly offer updated information to the vehicle, such as traffic signals, vehicles in the vicinity, and other variables that may arise to compute and analyze how to best achieve safe, highly precise, autonomous driving.
Today, the MMS also makes use of car-mounted GPS antennas, laser scanners, and cameras to gather 3D positioning data on road surfaces and roadside features. What one may one day see on a touchscreen is the image on the right above. That’s a 3D map of what the MMS sees when collecting data. Confident in the technology, Mitsubishi Electric is taking the MMS further by making a compact, easy to implement version, called “MMS-G”.
Designed as an easy roof-mount unit, the MMS-G can be mounted on more than automobiles, such as trains and various ships. Because the MMS-G uses various technologies to operate, such as a speed sensor, a constant connection to a satellite isn’t required, able to drive the vehicle through tunnels or underwater pathways. Plus, a high-sensitivity camera allows the vehicle to continue to function and collect data at night.
If Mitsubishi is making autonomous driving this advanced, then it’s no wonder why they’re expanding beyond automobiles. A question does come to light though. If the MMS is so good, why is there so little news about it? Join the discussion on Miami Lakes Mitsubishi social media.