Responding quickly and effectively to earthquakes and other natural disasters in Japan

The problem:

Japanese municipalities struggle with timely and accurate disaster response, specifically in forecasting events and identifying high-risk areas. This challenge necessitates a solution that can provide real-time, detailed information for effective emergency decision-making.

The solution:

Initiated in 2019 by KDDI, Toyota, and OY, in collaboration with Japanese academic and government entities, the IDR4M project is a tailored solution for municipalities in Japan to advance their disaster management systems. Developed under Japan's Strategic Innovation Promotion Program and launched in early 2023, this AI-powered tool integrates frequent updates on disaster risks with essential data, including environmental and weather conditions, into a single platform. This system significantly enhances municipalities' capabilities in traffic control, evacuation alerts, and public safety during emergencies. Already deployed in seven cities and districts, IDR4M is proving essential in bolstering the disaster preparedness and response capabilities of local governments, providing timely and informed decision-making support during critical situations.

The impact:

The IDR4M has significantly enhanced disaster response capabilities in Japan. By providing updated disaster risk levels every 10 minutes and forecasting for the next 6 hours, IDR4M enables more precise and timely evacuation orders. Its ability to visually represent risks and integrate various types of essential information on a single screen empowers decision-makers with a comprehensive understanding of imminent threats. This system has been pivotal in improving preparedness and response to natural disasters, thereby safeguarding communities and optimising municipal responses.

The technology:

The IDR4M system incorporates advanced technologies, including telecom infrastructure, AI and high-resolution data analytics. It integrates information from multiple sources, such as rainfall amounts, river water levels, and weather forecasts, displaying them on a unified platform. This integration facilitates a nuanced and dynamic understanding of disaster risks at a micro-spatial scale. The system's innovative use of AI technologies in evaluating hazards and vulnerabilities underscores a significant leap in disaster management technology.

The ecosystem:

The development of IDR4M has involved a diverse array of stakeholders, including academic institutions like Kyushu University, government bodies like the Japanese Cabinet Office, and private corporations such as KDDI and OYO Corporation. This transdisciplinary approach has ensured that IDR4M caters to the practical needs of its users, primarily municipal officers and mayors. Continuous collaboration and feedback from these stakeholders have been critical in refining IDR4M to effectively address real-world disaster scenarios.

Responsible AI by design:

The development and implementation of IDR4M consider key privacy and policy aspects, adhering to regulations and ethical standards. The system's design respects the sensitive nature of location data and disaster-related information, ensuring that privacy concerns are addressed. Furthermore, its development under the Strategic Innovation Promotion Program (SIP) aligns with policy objectives and government strategies for disaster management, demonstrating a model of compliant and responsible technological innovation in public safety.