Mitsubishi EX Concept TMS-9

Mitsubishi’s self-driving car will adapt technologies developed for air-to-air missiles by the Mitsubishi Electric division, Bloomberg reports. The components that will be repurposed include millimetre-wave radars, sonars, sensors and cameras – a few of which were developed to guide missiles.

Said components will be redesigned for the company’s self-driving vehicles, which are expected to be on roads by 2020, according to Katsumi Adachi, senior chief engineer at Mitsubishi’s automotive equipment division. It will be used to develop obstacle detection, collision avoidance and lane keeping systems.

While competitors may have been in this area for some time now, Adachi noted that Mitsubishi will be able to offer superior systems by next year, thanks to its expertise in high-precision sensors and electric-power steering systems. “All we have to do is to put together the components that we already have,” he said, adding, “none of our competitors have such a wide array of capabilities.”

Additionally, Mitsubishi will be looking to approach Continental AG, Denso Corp and Hitachi Automotive Systems with the purpose of providing assistance tech, which is fast becoming standard features in new vehicles. Meanwhile, according to projections by IHS Automotive, driver-assistance features are expected to double annual revenue to USD$17 billion (RM66.6 billion) by 2021.

Mitsubishi Concept GC-PHEV 09

Mitsubishi will begin production of components for lane-keeping and automatic braking systems by April 2017. Following that, it may also begin manufacturing automatic parking systems, Adachi stated.

The challenge however, will be bringing costs down, as such technologies were made especially for industries such as aerospace, according to IHS analyst, Goro Tanamachi. “I wonder if it’s possible for them to bring down the cost of the systems to the levels manufacturers can use for cheap, low-end cars,” he said, adding that cost-cutting requests tend to be more “severe” in autos than aerospace.

Meanwhile, it was also revealed that the company will combine the sensing technologies with its quasi-zenith satellite system, enabling the sending of up-to-date location data to vehicles. Three more similar satellites will be launched in geosynchronous orbit over Japan some time in 2017 to obtain data day and night.