This is not how we wanted to start off 2024, but on New Year’s Day a 7.5 magnitude earthquake occurred in Japan. The epicenter was in the Sea of Japan, just off the Noto Peninsula near Ishikawa Prefecture. The death toll is at 55 and many more people are trapped under collapsed structures. Many roads have been damaged, but one novel solution has come from Toyota.
Rescue efforts are underway, but even that has been met with tragedy. Yesterday, a Japan Airlines passenger jet had a fiery collision with a coast guard turboprop at Haneda Airport in Tokyo. The smaller plane was carrying relief supplies to the earthquake zone. Fortunately all 367 passengers and 12 crew members on the JAL flight were evacuated safely, but five of the six coast guard crew were killed.
Toyota was able to use data from their T-Connect app that gathers data from Toyota vehicles to whip together a focused map of passable roads in the quake-affected region. The system relies wireless networks, so Toyota says that the data may not be accurate in areas where there is no service. And while it can be accessed on web browser or mobile phone, they’ve also warned people not to overload the system by using it if they are not traveling through the zone.
If you’re traveling near the quake zone we hope this is of some use. Every little bit helps. Our hearts go out to the people affected by the earthquake. It’s impossible not to think of the devastating 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. This is on a much smaller scale, but what a horrible start to 2024.