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JFE Steel Corporation

JFE Steel to Demonstrate Automated Driving System at Keihin Site with IHI
—Will test traffic-control methods and practicality
for vehicles and pedestrians—

JFE Steel Corporation today announced that together with IHI Corporation it will conduct a demonstration test of an automated transport system using retrofitted vehicles at its East Japan Works (Keihin District) from February 2023, aiming to test all sections of the demonstration route within the fiscal year ending in March 2024.

The vehicles will travel autonomously along a set route, estimating their own positions and speeds using 3D map data from LiDAR1 sensors and GNSS2 data. The vehicle-control server will use wireless communications to set driving routes and instruct the vehicles when to start and stop, while a separate traffic-control server will regulate vehicle and pedestrian flows at intersections and crosswalks by controlling traffic lights, etc. and instructing the vehicle-control server when to have vehicles start and stop.

The development team also will test traffic-control methods to enhance the system as well as promote its acceptance. This will include the use of connected signage at intersections and crosswalks and control measures to notify other vehicles and pedestrians when automated vehicles are approaching. In addition, the team will work to determine the ideal positioning and number of peripheral-object sensors for installation in self-driving vehicles.

Since FY2019, JFE Steel and IHI have been developing technology for automated transport to address Japan’s shortage of truck drivers as well as to improve conditions at worksites. Basic functionality for automated driving, turning and stopping is ready and now will be tested in a real-world setting using a tractor-trailer3 loaded with 100 tons of freight on a roughly 3km route at the Keihin District worksite.

JFE Steel and IHI plan to expand the system to include other routes and vehicles at the Keihin District site to facilitate more innovative production.

Going forward, JFE Steel will continue to apply digital transformation (DX) technologies in diverse production solutions that will contribute to a more sustainable world.

1 Light detection and ranging (LiDAR) systems constantly emit laser light and use the reflections to measure the positions of and distances of objects.

2 Global navigation satellite system (GNSS) triangulates current position by using signals from multiple positioning satellites to determine the distance to each satellite.

3 A tractor-trailer (semi-trailer) is a heavy-freight transport vehicle comprising a separate tractor (driving) unit and trailers. Tractor-trailers can transport larger loads than conventional one-unit trucks, but pivoting at the tractor-trailer coupling make driving them more challenging.

Self-driving transport vehicle Self-driving transport vehicle
Self-driving transport vehicle
Automated transport test route

Automated transport test route

Demonstration in Test center
Provider: IHI Corporation

About JFE Steel Corporation

JFE Steel Corporation, one of the world’s leading integrated steel producers, was established through the consolidation of NKK Corporation and Kawasaki Steel Corporation in 2003. The company operates several steelworks in Japan and numerous branch offices and affiliates throughout the world. JFE Steel leverages world-class technologies and know-how to produce a wide range of products based on its “Only One, Number One” strategy of focusing on unique and best-in-class products. The company reported consolidated sales of 2,255 billion yen and consolidated crude steel output of 23.96 million tons in the fiscal year ended March 2021.

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