A Multi-faceted Approach to Sustainable Mobility

Oct. 29, 2021

- DENSO uses its strong position as an automotive technology provider to reshape mobility, including carbon neutrality by 2035 and zero traffic accidents -

 

Amsterdam, The Netherlands | 29 October 2021 – DENSO, the world's second-largest advanced automotive technology provider with over 200 facilities in 35 countries and regions across five continents, is determined to reshape the mobility landscape with a multi-faceted approach, aiming to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035 as well as zero traffic accidents

 

Take any make and model on the road today, and the chances are that there is a DENSO product powering it or optimizing its performance. DENSO works with the industry's biggest and most trusted global manufacturers, putting it in a unique position to reshape the mobility landscape through its advanced products, systems, and smart mobility solutions. Given that position, DENSO feels responsible and committed to providing means of transport for people and goods which are sustainable and safe.

Addressing these challenges of the current generation requires a multi-faceted approach and combined efforts across DENSO's global technology, research, and manufacturing operations.

As Mr. Yasushi Mukai, President and CEO of DENSO International Europe, explains, "Our vision to reshape mobility and build a better society is based on our concepts of going green and bringing peace of mind to everyone on and off the road. Our sheer size means we have the opportunity to make a real global impact."

 

DENSO's vision

The first component of DENSO's vision, 'going green', focuses on enabling cleaner and greener mobility, leveraging DENSO's 'monozukuri' expertise to reduce factory CO2 emissions to zero and optimize the manufacturing process through renewable energy.

The second component, 'peace of mind', reflects DENSO's commitment to safety and well-being and aims to achieve zero traffic accidents, enhance the mobility experience, and leverage DENSO's technological expertise to address society's broader needs.

DENSO's goal of reaching CO2 neutrality by 2035 is designed to address the challenge of CO2 neutrality through manufacturing processes, mobility products, and energy use.

 

Manufacturing

Manufacturing is the foundation of DENSO's business. With around 200 facilities across the globe, DENSO aims to achieve carbon neutrality without using any carbon credits. To achieve this goal, energy conservation measures and renewable energy sources are being introduced at all company facilities.

As Mr. Matteo Biglia, Vice President of R&D of DENSO Thermal Europe Center explains, "As of 2021, we have already reduced CO2 emissions by 12% compared to 2020. Through innovations in production and supply and through our recently announced CO2 recycling environmental technologies, we hope to achieve carbon-neutral plants that use 100% renewable energy by 2035."

DENSO will reduce CO2 emissions significantly by focusing on everything from plant equipment to materials and streamlining the manufacturing process. Additionally, CO2 generated during production will be collected and reused as energy, leading to Zero CO2 emissions.

DENSO has, for example, already introduced molecular binding and other novel production approaches, which were previously extremely difficult to achieve, and will continue to pursue new approaches going forward. This includes Factory IoT (Internet of Things) technologies to eliminate loss and waste in production operations. DENSO has also introduced technologies that stop machinery when it does not contribute to production in order to regenerate energy during downtime.

DENSO deploys similar technologies and innovations for carbon neutrality throughout its supply chain.

 

Mobility products

To reduce CO2 emissions, DENSO focuses on developing several technologies and BEV, PHEVs, HEVs, and FCEVs are all viable routes towards achieving CO2 neutral mobility.

Beyond the products themselves, DENSO believes it is essential to manage energy in all areas, from vehicles to infrastructure, and to contribute to carbon neutrality by offering highly advanced powertrains and thermal systems. DENSO deploys these modular technologies for all vehicle power classes ranging from compact-mobility vehicles to large trucks.

On top of that, DENSO is developing e-fuels, dynamic wireless power transfer and an electric-VTOL (A vertical take-off and landing) aircraft which can travel in all directions three-dimensionally. Moving forward, DENSO plans to adapt electrification technologies and high-quality mass production techniques developed in the auto industry for use in air mobility. Conversely, this will enable DENSO to use technologies that are used in ultra-lightweight designs in the aerospace industry in vehicles. With a view to an early market launch of an electric-VTOL aircraft, DENSO has signed a cooperation agreement with Honeywell, a major American aerospace company, and plans to start test flights in 2022.

 

Energy use

One of the biggest challenges of renewable energy is the poor supply of stability.  To resolve that, DENSO is also developing new technologies such as artificial photosynthesis to facilitate recycling and the use of CO2 as a renewable energy resource.

Another challenge is capturing emissions in a concentrated manner from households or plants of the production of automotive parts. Even though large quantities of CO2 from these sources accumulate in the atmosphere, the emission concentrations from such facilities are very low, and there is not yet an effective way to capture such low-concentration CO2. Therefore, DENSO is developing technologies to capture CO2 emissions from industry and households and CO2  already in the air and then recycle and reuse those emissions as renewable energy resources. 

 

Peace of mind

Reducing traffic accidents is a common goal all over the world. The UN aims to halve the number of global traffic accident fatalities by 2030, whereas the EU and the US have set similar objectives for 2050. And Japan has set a goal of at least 2,000 or less annually by 2025.

DENSO is working on an approach that takes account of both the depth and width of the task. The definition of 'depth' is the full pursuit of cutting-edge technologies that will enable DENSO to make mobility users safer. One example of this is how DENSO is using AI technology to predict potential hazards by, for instance, detecting pedestrians when visibility conditions are poor in a non-distracting way. Moreover, in the intersections with poor visibility and other situations where blind spots pose a threat, V2X and map functions provide infrastructure-related information, which, together with sensor information, can help prevent many accidents.

The 'width' means ensuring that products and technologies are used in as many vehicles as possible. Pursuing this goal will require safe products with the highest level of quality and reliability at competitive prices.

Since the 1990s, DENSO has provided advanced safety and various advanced driver assistant systems equipment such as LiDAR devices, millimetre-wave radar, and vision sensors. DENSO's peace of mind strategy aims to eliminate traffic accidents to zero and provide freedom of mobility for all.

As Mr. Stephan Watzka, Director of Engineering & R&D at DENSO Automotive Deutschland explains, "The number of car accidents can be reduced drastically by integrating Advanced Driver Assistance Systems into new vehicles and attaching safety devices to vehicles that are already on the road. DENSO will cooperate with cities to build safer infrastructures where obstacles can be detected earlier to avoid accidents."

 

Comfortable Spaces

An estimated 4.2 million people are killed by air pollution each year. As a global leader in automotive air conditioning, DENSO has responded to these threats and will be able to provide safe and trustworthy spaces by 2025, as well as spaces filled with so-called 'vibrant energy' by 2030. 

These spaces can only be achieved by improving the quality of temperature, sound, air, and visual environments while considering all five human senses to create spaces where people feel comfortable and at ease.

As society increasingly demands the air quality of the spaces people occupy, DENSO is developing solutions and innovations to keep the air pure and clean and provide visual notifications to mobility users about its quality. DENSO can improve air quality by eliminating harmful substances in the air and giving people greater peace of mind.

In February 2021, DENSO launched an air cleaner that captures and removes particles in the air that are roughly one twenty-fifth the size of particles captured by conventional models. This is equivalent to comparing a baseball with a grain of rice.

In the future, DENSO plans to develop purification technologies that use photocatalysts and sensing technologies to detect dangerous gases and viruses. It will also expand the application of these technologies to buses, taxis, and other modes of public transport and even to non-automotive public spaces.

 

Better working environments

The decline in the working population is rapidly becoming a major social issue that is expected to severely impact agriculture, logistics, and manufacturing industries. The agriculture business is facing major challenges because of an aging population and a lack of successors. In the area of logistics, the shortage of drivers has become an issue, while the increased demand for deliveries due to the pandemic has worsened the problem.

DENSO's automation technology can create working environments in which everyone can work comfortably. DENSO will automate the assembly process and use automation to reduce the burden of visual inspection and in-factory logistics. DENSO will also increase efficiency in operation management, automate transportation, and create comfortable and less stressful working environments in the agricultural sector which are not affected by weather conditions.

DENSO believes its technologies are ideal for addressing challenges in agricultural, logistics and factory-related operations and, as such, has developed a wide range of climate control, automation, and ICT technologies in the auto industry related to the Japanese business philosophy 'kaizen'. Combining these technologies makes it possible to provide agricultural operators with turnkey packaging solutions.

In the field of logistics, ICT and cold-chain technologies will be used in compact, mobile refrigerators and automated driving technologies to be adapted for automation in transport operations to provide more flexible delivery options.

 

Shifting priorities in a transforming industry

As one of the world's largest advanced technology providers, DENSO targets more than 3 billion euro investment in research and development, demonstrating its firm commitment to helping a transforming industry reinvent and reshape itself.

In the words of  Mr. Yasushi Mukai, "This is an interesting time for the automotive industry. Society's priorities are shifting. Our very concept of value is evolving - from parts and components to mobility systems and solutions, from a means of travel to mobility-as-a-service, from personal use to shared and connected mobility, and from the traditional consumption of fuel towards a more sustainable and CO2 neutral utilization of energy."