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Q&A with Hiroaki Okuchi, FISITA Corporate Member Leader – Asia

Hiroaki Okuchi, Operating Officer and President of Advanced R&D & Engineering Company at Toyota Motor Corporation, discusses the importance of FISITA membership

Hiroaki Okuchi is President of Advanced R&D & Engineering Company at Toyota Motor Corporation, with responsibility for advanced development of all technical areas.

Hiroaki Okuchi, Toyota Motor Corporation

In April 2015, Mr. Okuchi transferred from DENSO to Toyota Motor Corporation as a Managing Officer, overseeing active safety systems including advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and automated driving. He became an Executive Vice President of Advanced R&D in 2017, and two years later, President of Advanced R&D. Since January 2020, he has been an Operating Officer of Toyota Motor Corporation.

When did you join FISITA, and what does your FISITA role involve?

I joined FISITA in 2016 as Vice President of the FISITA Industry Committee. Since then, I have been leading FISITA technical cluster discussions to connect corporate members and new technical companies. I am also the FISITA Corporate Member Leader for Asia.

The automotive industry is facing a once-in-a-century period of profound transformation, and we need to shift our focus to new technology areas such as IT, software development, and energy infrastructure, all of which will become very important for the future automotive industry. In my role as VP of the FISITA Industry Committee, I am involved in technology cluster discussions, and I am focused on establishing a global network of new technology companies.

What are the key mobility trends in Asia?

The major mobility trends across Asia are linked to so-called CASE technology – that is, connected, automated, shared, and electrified technologies. However, electrification is becoming the main mobility trend in Asia due to the demand for carbon neutral solutions.

What are the challenges that these trends present?

In terms of electrification, renewable energy is the biggest challenge which the automotive industry is unable to solve on its own. The automotive industry needs to think about zero emission vehicle technology for heavy duty trucks. Fuel cell electric vehicle technology could be the solution, but realizing a hydrogen society must be integrated with development of the electric power grid.

Recycling technology is also important. Growth in the number of zero emission vehicles will lead to a shortage of rare metals for batteries, and recycling technology also contributes to CO2 reduction.

Autonomous driving has the potential to contribute to CO2 reduction through traffic management and Mobility as a Service, or MaaS – and it also has the potential to help achieve the goal of zero fatalities.

And what opportunities do these trends offer?

Integrating vehicle engineering with other industries and sectors may have opportunities for added value and new businesses, such as smart city development, MaaS, and other associated or value chain businesses.

What does all this mean for engineers developing the technology of mobility?

Mobility will remain at the heart of human life, and will forever be linked with infrastructure and services. That’s why it’s so important to develop the technology of mobility.

And what role can FISITA membership play in helping engineers develop these solutions?

The future is uncertain because there are so many parameters, from AI, connectivity, and quantum computing, to the need for carbon neutral solutions, and the implications of ageing societies. FISITA New Technology Cluster discussions connect different industries to consider new and future value, and expand members’ networks across various industries. This helps members to think about other challenges.

What would you say to any companies interested in learning more about FISITA membership?

It’s becoming increasingly important for the automotive industry to incorporate knowledge from other industries, and automotive engineers can take advantage of the global FISITA network to develop their skills. I would encourage every automotive engineer to join FISITA, and they can discuss the benefits of FISITA membership with my FISITA colleague, Kelly Williams.

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