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Japan to partner with U.S. on 6G standards for unmanned tech

  • January 29, 2022
  • , Nikkei Asia , 3:03 a.m.
  • English Press

DAISHI CHIBA, Nikkei staff writer

 

TOKYO — Japan and the U.S. will work together to lead the creation of international standards in unmanned technology that uses 6G communications, aiming to keep Chinese companies from dominating a field expected to include self-driving cars and fully automated factories.

 

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications may call on companies to form a consortium toward this end by September.

 

It will draw from a wide range of industries, including those involved in cellphones, communications devices, automobiles, drones and timepiece manufacturing. The alliance will also invite U.S. partners strong in software and engage in overseas expansion.

 

Plans are to commercialize technology for chip-scale atomic clocks by fiscal 2025. The atomic clocks work like sensors and are deemed indispensable for real-time remote control.

 

Sixth-generation communications is expected to be widely adopted around 2030. Such Chinese players as Huawei Technologies, ZTE, Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings are vying to make their 6G-powered unmanned tech into international standards.

 

Nokia and AT&T have announced similar initiatives, along with such Japanese groups as NTT Docomo, KDDI and Denso. They will compete against Chinese rivals in the race to set international standards.

 

Japan’s communications ministry will partly support funding for research and development together with pilot testing. The assistance will be provided for four years starting in fiscal 2022.

 

The ministry will consider providing the consortium with technology for specialized semiconductors developed by the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, an R&D organization overseen by the ministry.

 

Adding atomic clocks to automated vehicles and drones would make it possible to precisely determine the time and their locations, the way that the atomic clocks in GPS satellites do now.

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