Pioneer Corporation Business Report FY ended Mar. 2018

Financial Overview

(in million JPY)

FY ended Mar. 31, 2018 FY ended Mar. 31, 2017 Rate of change (%) Factors
Sales 365,417 386,682 (5.5) -Sales decreased due to lower deliveries of car electronics products to the OEM market, despite positive currency translation because of the weaker yen.
-Sales of car electronics products in the commercial market decreased in North America and Japan because of lower sales of car navigation systems; in Europe and Latin America, sales increased due to higher sales of car audio equipment.
-In the OEM market, sales of car audio equipment decreased in North America and increased in Japan and China; sales of car navigation systems decreased in Japan.
Operating income 1,194 4,167 (71.3)

Business Partnership

-Announced a collaboration with NVIDIA to combine its 3D-LiDAR sensors with the NVIDIA DRIVE PX AI computing platform for autonomous driving solutions in the near future. 3D-LiDAR is a sensor that can precisely measure the distance to a remote object and detect the size of an object. Aiming to start mass production in 2020 onward, Pioneer is developing a high-performance, compact, lighter and low-cost 3D-LiDAR sensor. The NVIDIA DRIVE PX AI computing platform allows Pioneer to use artificial intelligence to handle the complexities inherent in autonomous driving. (From a press release on December 14, 2017)

-The Company, CRI Middleware Co., Ltd., and Sweden-based Dirac Research AB have announced that they have agreed to form a business alliance for a new project integrating their sound technologies. A real-time sound correction solution to resolve muffled sound in housings will be applied for in-vehicle applications. Going forward, the three companies will expand this technology to a wide range of fields including in-car equipment, game and amusement machines, and audio equipment. (From an article in the Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun on November 30, 2017)

-Increment P Corp., its subsidiary, and HERE, a Netherlands-based map maker, agreed to enter into a capital and business partnership, aiming to supply global high definition mapping solutions to realize autonomous driving. (From an article in the Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun on September 20, 2017)

Joint Ventures

-The Company and Konica Minolta, Inc. announced that they will establish a joint venture for organic electroluminescent (EL) lighting panels in May 2017. The two companies' product development and sales functions will be merged into a new company, "Konica Minolta Pioneer OLED, Inc." Certain high-grade vehicles have started to use organic EL lighting panels for tail lamps. Organic EL lighting contributes to energy efficiency, and is expected to be increasingly in demand in the automotive market. The joint venture will enhance product competitiveness by utilizing the two companies' know-how to increase order intake and achieve sales of JPY 25 billion in the medium and long term. Pioneer has dissolved its tie-up for the organic EL lighting business with Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation. The joint venture will be capitalized at JPY 490 million, and be owned 50/50 by the two companies. It will aim to achieve growth with its business centered on automotive lighting. (From an article in the Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun on February 1, 2017)

R&D Expenditure

(in million JPY)
FY ended Mar. 31, 2018 FY ended Mar. 31, 2017 FY ended Mar. 31, 2016
Overall 25,852 23,863 24,804
-Car electronics 19,947 17,733 17,807

R&D Facilities

Name of Facility Location
Research & Development Division/Verification Laboratory Kanagawa Pref., Japan
Research & Development Division (Kofu) Yamanashi Pref., Japan
Research & Development Division in Tohoku Pioneer Corp. Yamagata Pref., Japan
R&D Division, Pioneer China Holding Co., Ltd. Beijing, China

R&D activities

-Announced that its 3D-LiDAR driving space sensor (laser scanner) that is currently under development has become compatible with the Autoware open-source software for autonomous driving systems developed by Tier IV, Inc. (Tier IV), a Nagoya University venture company. This progress was realized thanks to a signal processing driver developed by Tier IV for the 3D-LiDAR sensor. Pioneer is aiming for the adoption of the sensor by actively promoting it to automakers that utilize Autoware for autonomous driving development. (From an article in the Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun on December 1, 2017)

Vibration unit in driver's seats
-The Company will commercialize a system that detects driver drowsiness and sends alerts with a vibration unit integrated in driver's seats. The company currently offers it to car seat manufacturers as an advanced driver assistance system that includes heart rate sensors. Major automakers are planning the practical use of level 3 autonomous vehicles (autonomous driving except in emergencies), where smooth changes from autonomous to manual driving are required. Pioneer is aiming to win early orders of the system as a human–machine interface as well. (From an article in the Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun on January 17, 2017)

Experiment with Michinori Holdings, Inc.
-Announced that it will start autonomous route bus operation tests in Hitachiota City, Ibaraki Prefecture, with Michinori Holdings, Inc. (Michinori Holdings), which controls several bus companies. Pioneer will collect and analyze real-time operation information, and utilize the results to develop technologies for smooth, secure and safe autonomous buses. Ibaraki Transport Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Michinori Holdings, will operate autonomous test buses carrying passengers on a city circular route for about six months. (From an article in the Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun on February 1, 2018)

Technology Licensing-in Agreement

(As of Mar. 31, 2018)
Contract content Period
Dolby Laboratories Licensing Corporation
Licensing-in of patented technology to produce digital sound devices and noise reduction devices. December 21, 1971 -
until the expiration of the patent
Licensing-in of patented technology to produce MPEG-2 video products January 1, 1994 -
December 31, 2015

Capital investment

(in millions of JPY)
FY ended March 2018 FY ended March 2017 FY ended March 2016
Overall 37,061 21,952 25,426
-Car electronics 34,797 18,954 20,444