26 Aug 2016


Japan’s DeNA seems likely to become the next internet company that wants to be in the automotive business. The app maker’s automotive wing had a special event in Tokyo recently to reveal its first self-driving vehicle, a 12-person bus which will began operating in Japan’s Chiba prefecture at a shopping center this month.

DeNA highlight moment to date might be its selection as Nintendo’s partner in bringing its iconic gaming characters and brands to mobile devices, but it also has had an automotive business for a while now, which now is launching its first production vehicle in partnership with French driverless tech company EasyMile. It manufactures the EZ10 Robot Shuttle currently being trialled in a number of global projects.

The EasyMile EZ10 can hit a max of 40km or around 25 miles per hour, and employs a variety of sensors, cameras, GP and other systems in order to operate. It’s not a full-featured city dweller, though; EasyMile’s vehicles are designed specifically for use in private environments, where they don’t have to contend with the added complexity of human traffic.

DeNA’s role in all of this is primarily to handle coordinating with local Japanese authorities to make sure the French company’s hardware can operate in tandem with local regulations and existing systems, as well as facilitating insurance and offering “services” to customers who purchase the self-driving vehicles for deployment.

DeNA is teaming up with a more experienced automotive industry player rather than trying to build something from scratch, which is smart given the industry’s complexity and how much it would cost in terms of time and money to ramp up an internal car business.


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