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Aioi R&D Lab - Oxford in 2024

Aioi R&D Lab - Oxford in 2024
Aioi R&D Lab - Oxford in 2024

One year into its mission to solve global-scale societal issues through the creation of products and services powered by AI technologies, the Aioi R&D Lab - Oxford is breaking barriers in global collaboration, driven by a commitment to the Responsible use of AI. In the past 12 months, the Lab has completed eight projects, from detecting the features that could indicate cognitive decline in elderly drivers to exploring the potential insurance applications of next-generation technologies like large language models. Many others, like Quantum Computing for Transport Networks, are progressing rapidly, with results to come soon. Collectively, these projects showcase how the Lab is developing technology that will help solve the problems of today as well as the large-scale societal problems of the future.  

Long-term Thinking about the Future 

Thus far, the majority of the Lab’s work has focused on the responsible use of AI in Insurance. As an industry, insurance is both uniquely large, accounting for roughly 8% of GDP worldwide, and uniquely interconnected, containing touch points with almost every single industry in the world.

Contrary to popular belief, the problems insurers face are not really about providing premiums or handling claims. That’s just part of ‘what’ they do, to borrow Simon Sinek’s framework. ‘Why’ they do what they do is much more important, and for insurers, at the end of the day, it’s about understanding risk and working with uncertainty. Because the timelines insurers work with are long, often extending beyond multiple lifetimes, insurance is about long-term thinking about the future, anticipating future risk, and becoming the economic backstop for all the uncertain times we will likely experience in the coming decades. In a world dominated by increasingly shorter timelines and attention spans, it’s reassuring to know that many people out there are still looking far beyond the typical hype cycles and media feeds. 

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Challenges for Tomorrow  

As a hub for innovation, the Aioi R&D Lab - Oxford brings together experts from a range of disciplines to develop solutions and technologies for some of the most significant challenges affecting societies worldwide. Projects are grouped into eight different themes: 

  • Advanced technologies

  • Ageing infrastructure 

  • Ageing populations 

  • AI Risk and Governance 

  • Biodiversity and the Environment 

  • Fraud 

  • Mobility 

  • Natural disasters 

These broad themes capture the world's most important problems and bring together organisations from many different sectors, including mobility, energy, manufacturing, transportation and infrastructure. “AI will play a pivotal role in solving many global problems,” says Mind Foundry CEO Brian Mullins,  “But only if they’re developed in collaboration with the people who have their feet on the ground, the experts who are closest to them.”  

Kuniaki Uehara, a Director Head of Business at the Aioi R&D Lab - Oxford, goes on, “Challenges vary by industry. We would like to combine the expertise and data of everyone in each industry with our risk management know-how and take on the challenge of solving social issues together. We have already begun a partnership with a local government to reduce risks to public infrastructure.” 

ageing infrastructure3

Where Insurance Meets Infrastructure Assurance

Bridges are one of the most important features of our built environment. They connect us and enable the free-flowing movement of people, goods, and services across physical barriers like rivers, valleys, and roads. Critically, Japan, the United Kingdom, the USA, and most other advanced economies that heavily invested in infrastructure in the 20th century are all dealing with the ticking time bomb of rapidly ageing infrastructure in their built environment. 

There are 730,000 bridges in Japan, but 34% of them are over 50 years old, the age at which most bridges enter a stage of life where ongoing repair and maintenance are needed to ensure their safe operation. In the next ten years, this number will climb to 59%. In the United States today, 42% of bridges are already over 50 years old, and in the United Kingdom, four thousand of the UK’s busiest bridges are in poor condition, and 1 out of every 24 bridges is currently classified as sub-standard. 

With financial constraints and labour shortages around the world exacerbating the problem, a new approach to infrastructure management is needed to help local governments tackle the problem. The Lab has recently launched a project, in collaboration with key municipalities in Japan, to develop a new way to conduct Ageing Infrastructure Inspection. 

This project not only represents the Lab's Year Two expansion into new sectors, but it’s also a great example of Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance’s (ANDI) CSV by DX Initiative. By creating “shared value through digital transformation,” the Lab aims to “continuously support customers, communities, and society at large”. As Yutaka Ideguchi, ANDI’s Representative Director and Executive Vice President, notes, “The R&D Lab plays an extremely strategic role in leading the realization of this lofty goal. Alliances with business partners are extremely important in order to solve social and regional issues and create shared value.”

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Excellence in UK and Japan Partnerships

The ambition of the Infrastructure Project and the many projects that preceded it are already being recognised in the international community. In October of 2023, the Lab invited industry leaders from numerous sectors in Japan to the British Embassy in Tokyo and the CEATEC conference to describe the goals of CSV by DX and expand the alliance far beyond the insurance sector. The Lab’s first year of work was also awarded the British Business Award, recognising excellence in UK and Japan partnerships in October 2023. As well as being a tremendous honour, this award also indicates the progress the Lab has made in helping understand the scale of the challenges faced by societies across the world. 

Mind Foundry and ANDI accepting the British Business Award and Brian Mullins and Prof Steve Roberts speaking at the CEATEC conference

“We are honoured to receive this award recognising the success of our collaboration with ANDI and the potential for Japan and the United Kingdom to work together,” says Mind Foundry CEO Brian Mullins. “The power of AI is transformative and plays a big role in helping organisations to better quantify risk, optimise our use of resources, and create solutions that promote and support human flourishing. We are excited to continue this partnership and our work of bringing humans and AI together to solve key social and community issues in Japan, the UK, and globally.”

To learn more about how the Lab’s projects for 2024 will invite new partners from outside of insurance to expand the impact of CSV by DX, check out our latest video 👇 


Aioi R&D Lab – Oxford brings together insights from the Aioi Nissay Dowa Group of companies and the wider insurance sector with applied machine learning expertise from Mind Foundry. The Lab is a joint venture between Mind Foundry and its partners Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance (ANDI), and Aioi Nissay Dowa Europe (AND-E).  

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