2012 VOL.67 NO.12
Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) Facing Turning Point
ITS as Open Platform Supporting Evolution of Society
ITS Facing Major Turning Point and Toshiba's Approach
SUZUKI Katsuyoshi / OZAKI Nobuyuki / NAKAMURA Junichi
Japan is leading the world in the field of intelligent transport system (ITS) technologies, including car navigation systems, the Vehicle Information and Communication System (VICS), the Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) system, ITS Spot services, and so on. Due to recent advances in technologies such as smartphones, ITS can be expanded to new frameworks beyond existing ITS applications that focus primarily on users, vehicles, and roads. Social needs are also changing with the appearance of electric vehicles (EVs) and increased energy consciousness after the recent large-scale earthquake disaster. With these circumstances as a background, ITS has been undergoing a transformation from a method of dealing with transportation problems by realizing enhanced safety and comfort as well as environmental improvements, into transportation measures from the broader standpoint of solving various social issues.
Toshiba is contributing to the evolution of ITS making full use of its various products and technologies acquired through the development of social infrastructures, including roads, railways, vehicle components, and information and communication technologies (ICTs).
Next-Generation ETC System with Enhanced Usability and Maintainability
KUSANO Atsushi / IWABUCHI Shingo
More than 10 years have passed since the Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) system commenced operation in Japan. Replacement of the existing system with a next-generation ETC (ETC2G) system, which will have new functions aimed at the improvement of usability, maintainability, and so on, is planned.
With these trends as a background, Toshiba has developed an enhanced data maintenance system for the ETC2G system to secure log data including billing data, vehicle and accident information, system operation data, and so on, offering improved functions compared with the current ETC system. We have also developed an ETC emulator to simulate various signals of each type of equipment in the ETC2G system when actual vehicles are running, in order to improve the system performance.
Energy Management System for Expressways Aiming at Integration of Traffic and Energy Management
NAKAMURA Junichi / AISU Hideyuki / SUZUKI Hiroyuki
In order to realize comfortable expressway travel for electric vehicle (EV) drivers, infrastructure that provides a sufficient number of EV charging stations is required along expressways. It is necessary to establish comprehensive energy management taking into consideration energy conservation at service areas and parking areas (SAs/PAs), the utilization of renewable energy, and the shift of peak electricity demand to prevent power grid failure, as well as the dissemination of EVs.
Toshiba has been engaged in research and development aimed at realizing an energy management system (EMS) for expressways that has two functional modules: a functional module that predicts the driving behavior of running EVs using obtainable information and the electric power supply and demand situation of SAs/PAs including renewable energy, and a functional module that recommends the optimal SA/PA for charging of EVs.
Incident Detection and Traffic Information Data Acquisition Unit for Shin-Tomei Expressway
NAGAI Takehiko / KURATA Ryoichi / KAMOGASHIRA Daisuke
The Shin-Tomei Expressway, a new main artery in the Japanese expressway system, was partially opened over a distance of approximately 162 km in Shizuoka Prefecture, from the Mikkabi Junction to the Gotenba Junction, on April 14, 2012.
Toshiba developed an image processing unit incorporating vector image processing technology as an incident detection and traffic information data acquisition unit and delivered it to the Central Nippon Expressway Company Limited, which owns and manages the Shin-Tomei Expressway. This unit is equipped both with a function for the detection of incidents such as vehicles traveling in the wrong direction, stuck vehicles, traffic congestion, and so on, and a function for the acquisition of traffic information data such as traffic volumes, occupancy ratios, and so on, achieved by the processing of video images obtained by closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras. These data are transmitted to the road control center and the maintenance service center as incident information and traffic information data. These data are also used to provide notifications to drivers via signboards, and for the control of dust collectors in the Fujikawa Tunnel.
Application of ViscontiTM 2 Image Recognition Processor to Vehicle Detection Technologies
SUZUKI Yoshihiko / HARASHIMA Eiichi / HORIE Masahiro
Toshiba is promoting the development of road surveillance systems for the realization of safe and secure roads. The demand for smaller and higher-performance image processing sensors has been increasing in order to extend the range of application. As a solution to this issue, we have developed a vehicle detection framework for extracting features based on co-occurrence histograms of oriented gradients (CoHOGs), which are quite effective for object detection, using the ViscontiTM 2 high-performance image recognition processor incorporating four separate media processing engines (MPEs) and image processing accelerators on a single chip to enhance image recognition performance. We are now aiming at the development of an image processing platform using ViscontiTM 2 and the release of road surveillance systems with various algorithms.
Method for Forecasting Traffic Accident Occurrence on Expressways
MURANO Takenori / SHIROTA Takahiro / KUWAHARA Masao / OGUCHI Takashi
Rear-end collisions caused by congestion are a major factor leading to traffic accidents on expressways. Therefore, providing information about the probability of traffic accidents to drivers is expected to significantly reduce such accidents.
In cooperation with the University of Tokyo, Toshiba has been developing a method for forecasting the occurrence of traffic accidents on expressways by means of a self-organizing map that is a type of artificial neural network. We have evaluated the accident occurrence ratio, which is an indicator showing the possibility of accident occurrence, using past traffic information, and have shown that this ratio reaches a peak at the moment when traffic accidents actually occur. By combining this method with our microscopic traffic simulator, it is expected that traffic accidents will be able to be forecast and thereby prevented.
Application of EsBird Service to Road Management Systems
KAWAMURA Akifumi / MATSUMOTO Yoshinori
Since the operation of ground networks was interrupted for a prolonged period as a result of the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011, satellite communications have become increasingly important as the most reliable form of communication in the event of a natural disaster. The EsBird service, which is provided by SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation, is an Internet Protocol (IP)-based interactive satellite communication service that can maintain uninterrupted communications via dedicated lines even if a disaster occurs.
Toshiba has developed and supplied equipment for the EsBird service including a large earth station, very small aperture terminal (VSATs), satellite news gathering (SNG) systems, and mobile terminals. We have also been putting forward proposals to enhance the application of the EsBird service to road management systems by integrating these products in order to construct secure infrastructures.
EXI Messaging Technology Connecting with Various Embedded Devices for Smart Grids and Smart Communities
DOI Yusuke / SATO Yumiko / TERAMOTO Keiichi
Various types of embedded devices play important roles in services and systems for smart grids and smart communities. To integrate and control such devices in services and systems, a consistent and tolerant data model is becoming essential. Extensible markup language (XML) is one of the candidate message interchange formats. However, it is difficult for embedded devices with limited computational resources to handle XML format.
Toshiba has developed "XML-Less EXI," which is an efficient XML interchange (EXI) messaging technology optimized for embedded devices that takes advantage of the binary format of EXI. We have confirmed the effectiveness of XML-Less EXI through experiments on a prototype installed in network adapters for home appliances, and have also been promoting the international standardization of this technology.
Supporting Technology for Modification of Existing Software Using Symbolic Execution
SAKAI Masahiro / IWAMASA Mikito
In the development of software for large-scale infrastructure systems, the addition of functions over a long period and modification of functions due to changes in circumstances frequently occur during the operation phase. In such cases, the specification and design information of the target systems are required for redesign or reuse of the software. However, these resources are sometimes missing or have not been updated to the latest version during the process of long-term modification, creating an obstacle to the development of high-reliability systems. Furthermore, enormous efforts are required to re-create specification and design information by manually analyzing existing software.
To overcome these problems, Toshiba has developed a technology to automatically extract decision tables, which are a form of design information, from existing software by employing a symbolic execution technology. Experiments on a prototype using actual source codes have verified that this technology can support the modification and reuse of software.
REGZA Tablet AT830 with ISDB-T Full-Segment TV Receiving Function
KUROSE Kengo / KAKEMURA Atsushi / MIZOGUCHI Satoshi
With the wide dissemination of mobile terminals, demand for easy access to e-books and video contents not only inside but also outside the home has been increasing in recent years.
To fulfill users' requirements, Toshiba has developed the REGZA Tablet AT830 powered by AndroidTM. The AT830 is equipped with a 13.3-inch high-resolution liquid crystal display (LCD) for enhanced graphical user experience and the industry's first full-segment broadcast receiving function for tablets. These features were realized through the development of the following technologies: a thin integrated services digital broadcasting-terrestrial (ISDB-T) tuner, two radio frequency (RF) input circuits for RF wireless and wired connections, low-noise design technologies for ISDB-T bandwidths, and "RZ TV"s application software for Android.
High-Performance Control Technologies for SSD Using 19 nm-Generation NAND Flash Memory for PC Market
ASANO Shigehiro / OSHIMA Takashi / OSANAI Takeki
Solid-state drives (SSDs) using NAND flash memory have several advantages, including higher speed data readout, higher shock resistance, and lower power consumption, compared with hard disk drives (HDDs). As the capacity of SSDs per unit cost still remains lower than that of HDDs, increased capacity per unit cost with the shrinkage of the manufacturing process for NAND flash memory is essential for the dissemination of SSDs in the mainstream PC market.
In keeping with this trend, Toshiba has now developed an SSD using its leading-edge 19 nm-generation NAND flash memory for the PC market. To overcome the degradation of reliability and data transmission speed resulting from miniaturization, we have newly developed an SSD controller incorporating an advanced error correction function, a parallel data processing function, and energy-saving functions.
Construction of Software Development Process for Automotive Applications to Enhance Functional Safety in Compliance with ISO 26262 Standard
YAMAUCHI Nobuyuki / AOMINE Ryoko / YOMIYA Hisashi
The ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 26262 standard, which is a functional safety standard introduced in November 2011, is applicable to software development processes for in-vehicle electrical and electronic systems. This standard is indispensable in the automobile industry to minimize risk resulting from vehicle system failures due to software as well as random hardware failures.
With this as a background, Toshiba received ISO 26262 certification for its software development process from TÜV SÜD, a German-based international certification organization, in March 2012. To disseminate the process certification throughout our software design sites, we adopted realistic and constructive approaches based on reusing and enhancing our existing processes. Some projects applying the ISO 26262 standard to actual products are now in progress. We are also constructing a corporate-level education and support system in order to reinforce the functional safety capabilities of our automotive-related departments including overseas bases.
Activities Related to Practical Realization of GaN HEMT Products for Satellite Communication Applications
MATSUSHITA Keiichi / TAKAGI Kazutaka
Compared with conventional gallium arsenide (GaAs) field-effect transistor (FET) products, gallium nitride (GaN) high-electron-mobility transistor (HEMT) products offer higher output power and higher frequency characteristics.
Toshiba has developed and released a lineup of GaN HEMT products targeted at C-band (4–8 GHz), X-band (8–12 GHz), and Ku-band (12–18 GHz) applications. Although GaN HEMT products are in practical use for radar systems due to their high output power capability, they are not widely accepted in the field of communication applications because the gain and efficiency of GaAs FETs is considered to be better than those of GaN HEMTs. Through a comparison of the performance of GaN HEMT and GaAs FET products in the backoff condition for Ku-band satellite communication systems, we have confirmed that the GaN HEMT product achieves not only higher output power but also higher gain and efficiency than the GaAs FET product. Based on this result, we are making efforts to apply GaN HEMT products to satellite communication systems.
Construction Technologies for Improvement of Earthquake Resistance of Computer Rooms to Protect Information Assets
Many computer systems installed in computer rooms in public facilities and office buildings collapsed during the Great East Japan Earthquake, resulting in the loss of large amounts of critical information assets. In order to protect information assets from large earthquakes that may occur in the future, more robust measures to strengthen the earthquake resistance of computer rooms are required.
To meet customers' requirements for measures against earthquakes, Toshiba IT-Services Corporation has developed earthquake-resistance and seismic-isolation construction technologies. Using these technologies, vulnerable areas are extracted based on an evaluation of the load-carrying capacity through investigation, diagnosis, and analysis of the existing computer room specifications, and the optimal earthquake-resistance construction methods, such as aseismic reinforced floors, floor isolation systems, seismic racks, and seismic isolation systems, are proposed balancing costs with the characteristics of the information equipment in need of protection. We are applying these technologies to existing computer rooms in each process from investigation, diagnosis, and analysis to proposal and construction as a one-stop service.
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