By Roy Mabasa
Japan is willing to share their knowledge on automated driving and smart city development as part of a broader roadmap for transport infrastructure program to solve the humungous traffic congestions in the Philippines.
Recently, Japanese professor Toru Hagiwara of Hokkaido University visited the Philippines to share their studies and explore new solutions to the Philippines’ development challenges.
“This kind of automation could apply to the Philippines because system-assisted automated driving can help reduce driver distraction, lessen traffic congestion by shorter head distance and increased expressway travel speeds, and enable people with disabilities more access to open roads,” Hagiwara said.
This knowledge sharing is part of the Japan International Cooperation Agency’s (JICA) efforts to build the capacity of young Filipinos through its Japanese Grant Aid for Human Resource Development Scholarship or JDS.
During his visit, Hagiwara presented his study called “Self-driving Vehicles on the Highway” specifically on level 2 automated driving that could work in the Philippines.
Level 2 automation refers to a system assisting a human driver in steering, speeding up, or slowing down. The study experiment was done in Hokkaido where road conditions are harsh due to a snowy or icy road surface.
The Japanese professor said the crash protection and post-crash response system from partial automated driving are also some of the advantages.
In a 2017 follow-up study conducted by JICA entitled “Roadmap for Transport Infrastructure Development for Greater Capital Region,” it showed that traffic congestion could cause the rise of transportation costs in Metro Manila to P5.4 billion a day by 2035 without intervention.
Hagiwara’s study showed that automated driving is the “trend of the future” allowing human drivers to be more conscious of their behavior with lesser driver workload especially in congested areas like Metro Manila.
JICA has been supporting human resource development in the Philippines through this grant that has attracted over 300 Filipinos to Japan’s leading universities.