Hirotoshi Iwasaki, Ph.D Technology Planning Div., Engineering R&D Center, Project Director DENSO IT LABORATORY,INC., CTO
This project is a research project to apply cutting-edge artificial intelligence technology to DENSO's business domain for its practical application. Starting with autonomous driving and safe driving assistance, it will continue to be applied to areas, such as HMI to link cars with humans, and production technology intended to improve global productivity. Our goal is to achieve artificial intelligence that supports human activities as a "smart tool." Many innovations continue to occur in the automobile industry at this time. With these innovations, a field has developed in which technologists with experience in artificial intelligence research in other industries, such as electronics manufacturers and the Web industry, can immediately contribute. Naturally, DENSO is fully equipped with the latest facilities and accumulated driving data, test courses, etc., but they also offer an environment in which hardware and software technologists can work closely together. More than anything, they should feel the significance to society of creating a new transportation society through their work. As a project leader, I would like to gather together the challenges that each member of my team would like to face and drive them toward their goals. To accomplish this, a culture of active discussion among technologists that allows them to brush up their ideas is important. Our mantra is "creating the world's best technology." In the future, we will continue to race towards this goal.
Dr. Takeo Kanade Technical Advisory Carnegie Mellon University Professor
The university has had a long-term relationship with DENSO, which includes joint research, and there is much we can learn about their straightforward approach to technology, in particular their pursuit of reliability. Technology is used throughout the world, and is useful when it aids society. I want to produce new ideas and values that can make a contribution throughout the world.
Takashi Bando DENSO International America, Inc., Silicon Valley Innovation Center, Manager Joined in 2007
While pursuing his doctoral degree, he worked with DENSO in the joint development of a driver monitor using machine learning, and then decided to join the company because he wanted to continue to be involved in creating things in this field. Currently, he is engaged in extracting context information from accumulated data on road environment/driving behaviors and developing applications to provide appropriate driver assistance in various situations. For example, technology to assist interactions between humans and the car to enable the car to predict how people make decisions such as deciding when to change lanes appropriately and communication with nearby cars and what action they will take next. My childhood dream has been to create robots that act like people, so I am interested in technology that transfers human thoughts and actions to machines. The climate at DENSO lets you actively challenge yourself no matter what that challenge is. Even when I decided to leave my post for a position in Silicon Valley, I received a great deal of support from the people around me. In Silicon Valley, I often have contact with technologists working at startups in the area, and new collaborations also emerge as the result of free communication, which is different than in Japan. To achieve a society with zero traffic accident deaths, the car must understand people and offer safe driving assistance that is easy for people to accept. I want to continue to contribute as much as I can to the development of this technology in the future as well. This is my goal.
Tomoaki Ozaki Research Div. 3, Research Laboratories, Engineering R&D Center, Project Assistant Manager Joined in 2013
Previously, I worked on the research and development of image LSI at an office equipment manufacturer. I knew that DENSO's goal was for zero traffic accident deaths and that they were focusing their efforts on the development of advanced driving assistance systems and autonomous driving technology, so "I wanted to try to use my past experience in work with a high social significance," and decided to join the company. Currently, I am engaged in the development of implementation technology for even more advanced image recognition systems intended for practical application in 5 years and in 10 years. My goal is to develop hardware that enables not just recognition of an obstacle and stopping the car, but that enables the car to and determine conditions and take control to avoid danger. What should be done to achieve smooth driving assistance with near-human perception that is even more efficient and safer? It can be difficult because various approaches to achieve these goals can be considered, resulting in trial and error, but because it is a young field, it is also fun. Many people within the department have transferred from semiconductor or electrical manufacturers, so it is a stimulating environment. The climate encourages the active exchange of ideas and open, frank discussion so that all members of the team advance the project with a common understanding whether they are young, mid-career, or veterans. The artificial intelligence technology being developed will contribute to the improved performance of future cars, and I want to increase its potential to contribute to the world, even just a little bit. It would be great to say with pride to my son one day, "This is technology that I worked on."
Hiroshi Kuwajima ePF Advanced R&D Dept., Tokyo Office, Project Assistant Manager Joined in 2009
I researched artificial intelligence and machine learning in graduate school and developed packaged software for a foreign-owned IT company before joining DENSO. My motivation for joining DENSO was that I wanted to work in a research and development department at the main office and not an overseas corporation. Currently, I am working to build the quality foundation for a future system equipped with artificial intelligence. The challenge is how to define and ensure the quality of a system equipped with artificial intelligence that is still in the research phase and is a technology that is not yet established amidst the challenges of using the latest technology of artificial intelligence in the automobile industry, which pursues high-levels of quality. This product involves the safety and security of people; therefore, it requires quality assurance that ensures that the developer can responsibly release it and that users can understand and use it. Up until last year, I studied deep learning at Stanford University for two years taking advantage of the in-house system, and it provided me with an invaluable experience. In Silicon Valley, I actively exchanged ideas with technologists at large companies and startups in the area and absorbed the culture that gives birth to cutting-edge technology and innovations. The technology as well as the in-house and external connections that I obtained at that time have been helpful in my current work. My goal is to build a quality foundation for advanced driving assistance and artificial intelligence to support autonomous driving while collaborating with in-house and external technologists active in the fields of artificial intelligence and quality engineering. If this is also recognized as an "international standard," it will be a breakthrough for the world's automobile industry. From there, surely a new future will unfold.