Japan’s MUFG Bank enters 3D map data business

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The MUFG Bank logo is seen in Tokyo

MUFG Bank has entered the spatial data business, including the production of 3D map data production, the bank and its partner company said. 3D map data is essential for the spread of automated vehicles and drones, and the bank intends to pursue diverse business development in the field by utilizing its customer base.

The bank has established a new joint venture, DMP Axyz, with Dynamic Map Platform Co. (DMP), a major 3D map data production firm that has received investment from Toyota Motor Corp. and other companies. The new company received about 5% of its capital from the bank and the other 95% or so from DMP, according to the announcement by the two investors.

DMP owns 3D map data covering some 100,000 kilometers of highways and roads throughout Japan. The data is currently used for self-driving and driver-assistive technologies developed by automakers, including Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co.

DMP Axyz will utilize this data for other businesses. For example, the firm is planning to provide municipalities and road management companies nationwide with a snow-removal support system from fiscal 2023. The system will make it possible to view roads covered by heavy snowfall in 3D maps, thereby improving safety and efficiency in snow removal.

Demand is also expected to come from insurance companies wanting to use drones to assess disaster situations, and logistics companies considering the introduction of unmanned collection and delivery services for packages.

In the future, the company aims to expand the use of its data to self-driving taxis and support for drone flights.

The firm is also looking to incorporate customers’ requests into the production of map data and develop payment systems capable of changing fares according to the distance and route driven, while also hoping to promote smart cities that utilize such advanced technologies.