Japan: Day 1 
The Zenzic team’s journey begins 

The beautiful bay of Yokohama has become the backdrop for Mark Cracknell‘s and Frances Williamson‘s latest adventure ahead of the highly anticipated JSAE 2023, the premier automotive engineering show in Asia. With the event serving as a paramount platform for showcasing the latest breakthroughs in automotive technologies, this journey promises to be a significant chapter in Zenzic’s pursuit of driving innovation and shaping the future of mobility. 

Day 1 in Japan saw our team meeting with the British Embassy in Tokyo. The encounter presented a unique opportunity to gain better understanding of opportunities to cultivate collaborations between Japan and the UK within the dynamic realms of automotive and mobility sectors, paving the way for meaningful partnerships between two influential players in the industry. Valuable insights from the British Embassy team were exchanged, igniting a realm of exciting possibilities and further fortifying our mission towards a connected, autonomous, and sustainable future.  

Driven by this strong start, our team look forward to a series of meetings and engagements, ready to showcase our innovative solutions and contribute to the collective advancements in the field of automotive engineering. 

Frances Williamson at JSAE 2023

Japan: Day 2 
A gateway to Europe 

Day 2 of our Japan journey has furthered opportunities to connect with companies and foster collaborations in the realm of CAM. 

Today, we met with companies keen to talk about CAM Testbed UK, innovation, and mobility solutions and had the opportunity to explore shared visions and aspirations. We had the privilege of discussing the immense potential for CAM development, particularly in Britain, Japan, America, and Europe. As advocates for collaboration on a global scale, we in the UK are fortunate to be well-placed to serve as the ideal gateway to Europe, offering unparalleled access to a robust network of testbeds and innovation ecosystems. 

At Zenzic, we firmly believe that collaboration knows no boundaries. We believe in fostering knowledge, and sharing and accelerating the development of groundbreaking technologies.  

By positioning ourselves as a gateway to Europe, we aim to facilitate cross-border collaborations, bringing together the best minds and resources to drive the future of mobility. 

As the days progress, we are excited to further nurture relationships with companies here in Japan, and share our vision for a connected, autonomous, and sustainable future.  

JSAE, the renowned automotive engineering show in Asia, awaits us, where we will have the opportunity to showcase our expertise, learn from industry leaders, and forge new alliances. With over 500 exhibitors, there will be a lot to see!  

Japan: Day 3 
Strengthening industry connections 

Through strategic meetings, networking sessions, and engaging conversations, the last few days in Japan have allowed us to showcase our dedication to shaping the future of mobility and emphasised the UK’s expertise in CAM. We are delighted to witness the growing recognition and interest in our endeavors. 

Today, with CCAV, DBT, APC and Innovate UK colleagues, we had the privilege of meeting with major Japanese companies renowned in the automotive and industrial sectors. These meetings are fantastic opportunities to exchange ideas, explore potential collaborations, and gain deeper insights into their endeavors and future plans. Engaging with them aligns perfectly with our objective of establishing new relationships in the CAM space, and we are excited about the possibilities that may arise from these encounters. 

As our journey in Japan continues, we remain driven by our passion to accelerate the adoption of connected and automated mobility on a global scale. We are grateful for the opportunities to increase visibility, establish new relationships, and embrace the dynamic landscape of the CAM industry.  

Japan: Day 4 
Bringing UK CAM to JSAE 

Day 4’s conversations went beyond exploring CAM Deployment UK projects and CAM Scale-Up UK Alumni and delved into the vibrant ecosystem these initiatives create within the UK.  

As disrupters, we appreciate the pivotal role these pioneers play in driving the industry forward, while simultaneously ensuring the UK remains a hub for innovation and collaboration. 

Amidst the dynamic discussions, a recurring theme emerged – the increasing significance of Joint Ventures across the automotive landscape. Companies of all sizes, from large to small, are recognising the value of collaborative partnerships. These alliances not only foster knowledge exchange and technological advancements but also leverage the unique strengths of each partner to drive progress in the CAM domain. 

Moreover, the importance of Digital Twins and simulation in guaranteeing safety and security was a topic of great importance. The ability to simulate and test real-world scenarios using Digital Twins not only reduces costs and development time but also offers invaluable insights into the safety and security aspects of connected and automated mobility solutions. 

Throughout the day, our discussions further highlighted the positive impact of Deployment projects and the notable achievements of CAM Scale-Up UK Alumni, underscoring their transformative role within the UK’s mobility landscape. We delved into various technical areas, including perception and localisation, safety or mission-critical vehicle systems, advanced software solutions, and verification and validation. These aspects are crucial in driving the progress of connected and automated mobility, ensuring the development of reliable and efficient technologies. Additionally, the importance of infrastructure was emphasised as a key component in supporting the growth and integration of CAM solutions across the UK. By focusing on these technical domains and investing in robust infrastructure, we strengthen the foundation for a successful self-driving revolution and a future of safe and seamless mobility experiences. 

With each meeting, we solidified our position as a key player within the global CAM ecosystem, showcasing the UK’s commitment to innovation, collaboration, and forward-thinking solutions. By leveraging partnerships, nurturing disrupters, and embracing digital advancements, we and our collaborators are at the forefront of revolutionising the way we perceive and experience mobility, ultimately driving us closer to a self-driving future. 

Mark Cracknell at JSAE 2023

Japan: Day 5 
Japan, the UK and the CAM landscape 

Day 5 in Japan provided intriguing insights into the CAM landscape of two influential players: Japan and the UK. Reflecting on their similarities and differences sheds light on the unique dynamics shaping CAM in both countries.

Starting with the similarities, one striking parallel is that Japan and the UK drive on the same side of the road, a testament to shared historical motoring conventions. Additionally, being islands, both countries face similar challenges related to limited space, prompting the need for innovative solutions prioritising efficient and sustainable mobility.

Another shared hurdle is the impact of weather conditions on CAM sensors. The island climates in Japan and the UK require ingenious approaches to ensure reliable performance in various weather scenarios.

Furthermore, both countries are grappling with the implications of aging populations, which necessitate innovative transportation solutions to cater to the mobility needs of elderly individuals. CAM technologies offer the potential for safer and more accessible transportation options, empowering older adults to maintain their independence and quality of life. Addressing the unique mobility challenges posed by aging populations can enhance the well-being and inclusivity of elderly citizens in Japan and the UK.

Both countries also face challenges related to rural populations and their associated transportation difficulties. Rural areas often lack sufficient public transportation options, limiting access to essential services and opportunities. CAM has the transformative potential to bridge this gap by providing on-demand and efficient transportation solutions. Whether through autonomous shuttles, shared mobility services, or innovative delivery systems, CAM technologies can improve accessibility, connectivity, and stimulate economic growth in rural communities.

However, Japan’s CAM landscape is shaped by additional ecological challenges, including earthquakes and the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster. These circumstances have significantly influenced Japan’s approach to innovation and adaptation, highlighting the vital role of resilience and adaptability in the country’s CAM ecosystem.

Another noteworthy similarity lies in the societal concern and acceptance surrounding connected and automated mobility. Both Japan and the UK recognise the potential benefits of CAM, such as enhanced safety, improved efficiency, and increased accessibility. These driving factors motivate the adoption and development of CAM technologies in both countries.

While there are significant similarities, it is crucial to acknowledge the cultural nuances that shape the adoption and perception of CAM technologies in Japan and the UK. Japan’s emphasis on attention to detail and precision drives technological advancements and meticulous engineering. On the other hand, the UK prioritises collaboration, innovation, and fostering an ecosystem that encourages disrupters to thrive.

Beyond these cultural disparities, our journey in Japan was invigorating, with an average of an impressive 20,000 steps per day! Exploring vibrant streets and immersing ourselves in the local culture added to the enriching experience.

Fostering cross-country collaboration in the CAM revolution

As we conclude our time in Japan, these insights into the similarities and differences between the two countries within the CAM realm provide a deeper understanding of the global landscape. Recognising shared challenges and distinctive approaches enables Japan and the UK to learn from each other and establish meaningful collaborations that propel the CAM revolution forward. 

Tomorrow, we will depart from Japan, carrying a wealth of knowledge, new connections, and a fresh perspective on the global CAM ecosystem. Upon returning to the UK, we will continue championing collaboration, innovation, and the pursuit of a self-driving future that benefits societies on both sides of the globe. 

The Zenzic team’s journey through Japan has been a remarkable exploration of collaboration, innovation, and the shared pursuit of a self-driving future. From engaging with the British Embassy to fostering connections with Japanese companies, each day has brought valuable insights and opportunities for growth in the realm of CAM. The similarities and differences between Japan and the UK have highlighted the diverse dynamics shaping the CAM landscape globally. As the team departs from Japan, they carry with them a wealth of knowledge, new connections, and a fresh perspective on the global CAM ecosystem. Back in the UK, Zenzic will continue to champion collaboration, nurture disrupters, and drive the progress of CAM technologies, ultimately shaping a safer, more efficient, and seamless mobility experience for societies on both sides of the globe. The journey may have concluded, but the mission to revolutionise the future of mobility has only just begun.

Mark Cracknell is a Chartered Engineer and began his career at Transport for London before joining Zenzic and heading up the organisation. Mark works closely with key stakeholders across the CAM ecosystem to accelerate the safe and efficient deployment of CAM in the UK. 

As Programme Director for Zenzic, Mark has provided support to CAM Testbed UK, led the creation of the CAM Roadmap UK to 2030, which established a UK wide view of the future for CAM, and supports CCAV in defining its future programmes and strategy. With expertise in the areas of infrastructure, communications, systems and innovation, Mark has contributed to national standards, spoken at numerous conferences and been interviewed on national TV.

Frances Williamson is Zenzic’s Head of  Stakeholder Engagement. Frances is a highly experienced, knowledgeable and effective director and senior leader, delivering in strategy and business development, managing stakeholder relationships, project and change management, influencing regulation and policy development, communications, government and public affairs, covering UK and Europe. 

Related reading: Zenzic at Transport Technology Forum 2023