ABOUT

Controlling the wind and realizing safer skies

Metro Weather, a startup company launched by Kyoto University, develops and manufactures Doppler lidars that are able to visualize the invisible currents in the atmosphere in real time. Our Doppler lidars are not only capable of measuring wind conditions in 10m~75m increments over a range of up to 15km from the installation point, but are also available at less than one-tenth the size of rival firms’ products and for dramatically lower costs. We are currently pushing forward the development of ever more compact lidars and mobile mounted lidars (for installation in motor vehicles, aircraft, helicopters and drones), in line with society’s needs. Most of us are familiar with information about wind conditions as something that we hear about as part of everyday weather forecasts. Up until now, however, such information has largely been limited to ground-level data, while data for wind conditions in the zone where drones fly (100m or so above ground level) or over the oceans has been difficult to obtain. At Metro Weather, we have succeeded in developing Doppler lidars which are capable of measuring wind information high up in the atmosphere and over the oceans at a high level of accuracy, based on remote sensing technology and signal process technology that have been developed over many years of research at Kyoto University. We are steadily approaching the age of the “drone-based society” or “air mobility society,” in which drones are likely to become an unquestioned part of everyday life. However, the technological arena in which drones actually operate--the skies--is affected dramatically by wind conditions, meaning that safe and efficient operation of drones is constantly dependent on highly uncertain factors. By using compact Doppler lidars to build up a three-dimensional picture of conditions in the skies, which constantly change hour by hour, and visualizing these in real time, Metro Weather is helping to ensure “the safety of the skies.”

Towards limitless possibilities

With their compact size, Metro Weather’s Doppler lidars are highly portable and installable, allowing easy installation in locations such as drone ports and communication towers. What is more, Metro Weather’s Doppler lidars are able to deliver highly detailed meteorological information on the skies for the immediate future, based not only on wind condition data measured in real time but also on simulation technology that can forecast weather at a high degree of accuracy using a grid point mesh that is 100 times more detailed than the regular weather forecasting systems that we see in our everyday lives. The wind condition observations and high-resolution weather forecasting simulations derived from Metro Weather’s Doppler lidars can be used in a wide range of business domains, and usage is now growing rapidly. In particular, as the “drone-based society” comes ever closer to reality in recent times, we are seeing rapid growth in the needs for Metro Weather solutions that are able to deliver high-accuracy wind condition information about flight routes in real time, this being essential information for safe and reliable operation of drones.

Company Information

  • Company Name
    Metro Weather Co., Ltd.
  • Head Office Address
    6 Uji Venture Business Incubation Factory, 1-25 Nishinohata, Okubo-cho, Uji City, Kyoto
  • President
    CEO Jun-ichi Furumoto
  • Established
    May 13, 2015
  • Capital
    ¥140,290,000 (excluding capital reserve)
  • Executives
    CEO: Jun-ichi Furumoto
    Director: Kuniaki Higashi
    Director: Hisao Nishimura
    Outside director: Soki Ohmae
    Outside director: Taro Kinoshita
  • Nature of Business
    Development, manufacture and sale of atmospheric observation devices using remote sensing technology
    Marketing and the provision of solutions combining meteorological information and IoT
    Provision of meteorological observation and prediction data, and information supporting disaster-prevention operations

History

  • 2015 May.
    Established
  • 2016 Jan.
    Selected for NEDO’s Startup Support Program for research and development venture businesses
  • 2016 Jan.
    Undertook capital fundraising through third-party share allocation underwritten by Draper Nexus
  • 2016 Sep.
    Selected for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program operated by the United States
    Department of Defense (over three years)
  • 2017 Jan.
    Selected for NEDO’s Startups in Corporate Alliance Support Program
  • 2017 Nov.
    Awarded the Regional Encouragement Prize in the Senshu Ikeda Bank New Business Grant Contest
  • 2018 Oct.
    Undertook capital fundraising through third-party share allocation underwritten by two companies
  • 2018 Aug.
    Selected for NEDO’s New Energy Venture Business Technology Innovation Program
  • 2018 Sep.
    Undertook capital fundraising through third-party share allocation with Real Tech Fund, Drone Fund and private investor Yasumasa Manabe
  • 2019 Apr.
    Selected for NTT Communications Open Innovation Program
  • 2019 Apr.
    Won the highest award in the Advanced Robotics Technology category of the 6th session of the Rise Up Festa MUFJ Business Support Program
  • 2019 Dec.
    Started business collaboration with NTT Communications for “Generating a new smart data platform (SDPF) business on real-time wind conditions using combination of towers/wireless relay stations and Doppler lidars”
  • 2020 Jul.
    Selected for Amazon Activate, Amazon.com’s startup support program
  • 2021 Feb.
    Selected for Microsoft for Startups, a global program run by Microsoft
  • 2021 Mar.
    Selected for NASA SBIR Program Phase I (weather-sensing infrastructure for cities)
  • 2021 Nov.
    Selected for J-Startup (nationwide version) and J-Startup Kansai 
    Won the Start Up Grand Award in the JR East Start Up Program

Profiles

CEO Jun-ichi Furumoto

Jun-ichi Furumoto established Metro Weather Co., Ltd. in 2015, while continuing to carry out research and teaching activities as an assistant professor at the Research Institute for Sustainable Humanosphere of Kyoto University until 2019. In addition to using his knowledge of measurement, control and communications, etc. to develop new radar observation technology, Jun-ichi Furumoto has also been involved in research directly connected to solving social issues, and has developed a high-performance coherent Doppler lidar which fully exploits recent developments in state-of-the-art measurements technologies and devices. He is also involved in many initiatives which aim to bring about social application of the results of research in order to contribute to society. He is a doctor (informatics) and engineer at Kyoto University.

Director Kuniaki Higashi

After being appointed postdoctoral researcher at Kyoto University in 2009, Kuniaki Higashi was involved in the development of air turbulence detection and prediction technology using atmospheric radars, and the development of high-resolution weather forecasting simulations. He gained experience in environmental assessment work over two years working at a private-sector weather forecasting company. Having retired from his position as a postdoctoral researcher in 2014, he established Metro Weather Co., Ltd. as a startup company launched by Kyoto University in 2015 together with Jun-ichi Furumoto after one year of preparations for starting up the new business. He is now a director at Metro Weather.
Doctor of Kobe University (science) and certified meteorologist.

Director Hisao Nishimura

After graduating from the Faculty of Economics, Doshisha University in 1974, Hisao Nishimura joined the Bank of Kyoto. After serving as the assistant manager of the New York office and the vice-director of the Investigation Department in the Head Office, he gained experience as the president of semiconductor manufacturing unit manufacturer TOWA, a company listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. He has many years of experience of work in the financial industry and as an administrator at a company listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. He was appointed director of Metro Weather Co., Ltd. in 2017.

Outside director Soki Ohmae

He established Creative Hope Co., Ltd. in 2002, and expanded into web consulting with a focus on creative aspects. Having started up a one-stop service which aims to provide everything from web strategy creation/branding to scientifically-grounded site analysis based on access analysis and website design/construction/administration, as a website consultant he has personally provided successful guidance for the large-scale websites of numerous national brands and international companies/organizations. In May 2017, he became involved in the Drone Fund Advisory Board. He has served as joint representative partner of the Drone Fund since September 2018. He is a professor at Business Breakthrough University and Graduate School (specialism: Digital Marketing).

Outside director Taro Kinoshita

After completing a master’s degree (Applied Chemistry) at the Graduate School of Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Taro Kinoshita joined Sumitomo Chemicals. While working there, he was in charge of R&D into polymer materials for food packaging and electronic substrates. In 2013, as a specially-appointed officer in charge of planning new businesses, he planned a business creating new materials for use in medical applications, promoting the business in partnership with bases in the EU and Southeast Asia. Following this, he gained experience in a wide range of domains such as food products, healthcare and energy, including collaboration with a business connected with materials used in lithium ion batteries.
He became involved in Real Tech Holdings in 2017. At Real Tech Holdings, as growth manager he was in charge of across-the-board fund operation, as well as providing support for management and the creation of new businesses, the major domains under his charge being chemicals, new materials and medical devices. As targets for investment and cultivation, Taro Kinoshita is in charge of ANSeeN which develops next-generation X-ray sensors, and Light Touch Technology which develops non-invasive blood sugar sensors.