TIER IV paves the way for highway trucking with innovative reference design

TOKYO, May 2, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — TIER IV, a pioneer in open-source autonomous driving (AD) technology, today announced an exciting initiative aimed at shaping the future of highway trucking. In response to driver shortage challenges facing Japan’s cargo industry, the company is set to develop a new function for highway trucking and conduct proof of concept (PoC) tests on Japan’s public highways, starting from fiscal year 2024. By developing a reference design for commercial truck manufacturers, TIER IV is fully dedicated to facilitating the deployment of autonomous driving.

The reference design will encompass the core functionalities of the open-source software, Autoware*, as well as advanced features developed through collaborations with partner companies. For the upcoming PoC tests, TIER IV is integrating the Mapless Autonomy Platform from a German start-up, driveblocks, into its AD software. Using driveblocks’ software allows AD platforms to navigate using perception, rather than high-definition (HD) maps, a method proven effective in Europe’s challenging routes, such as the Brenner Pass.

Video : Mapless Autonomy Platform used during a trucking test in Europe

The integration of driveblocks’ technology is particularly valuable for TIER IV’s highway trucking initiative, as it creates a redundant safety layer and a secondary path for situations where HD maps become unavailable or outdated, including new construction areas. Recent closed-loop PoC tests conducted on a multi-lane test track in Japan demonstrated the combined power of the companies’ technologies for highway trucking scenarios.

TIER IV and driveblocks have also conducted a PoC test on highways, achieving reliable perception and accurate road corridor modeling at speeds up to 100 kilometers per hour (kph) under various driving conditions, including standard highway scenarios and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)-denied environments like tunnels and other low-light settings. TIER IV will place a strong emphasis on continuing to develop robust object detection capabilities, enabling autonomous trucks to perceive their surroundings and navigate safely on the highway, especially in complex scenarios with diverse objects like merging vehicles and debris.

Video: Data from a PoC test conducted on a highway in Japan shows two forward-facing camera views with detected lane markings overlaid (left) and a bird’s-eye depiction of road corridors

Through this new initiative, TIER IV is poised to steer the deployment of autonomous driving for highway trucking, making a significant leap forward in the industry.

*Autoware is a registered trademark of The Autoware Foundation.


TIER IV, the pioneering force behind the world’s first open-source software for autonomous driving Autoware, offers a range of advanced AD products and solutions, encompassing both software and hardware across multiple platforms. The company is steering the development of safe and efficient autonomous driving technology, aiming to reimagine intelligent vehicles through the art of open source. A founding member of the Autoware Foundation, TIER IV conducts cutting-edge research and development in collaboration with partners worldwide, harnessing Autoware to accelerate the rollout of autonomous vehicles that will benefit society as a whole.

About driveblocks

Founded in December 2021 in Garching near Munich, driveblocks offers a modular software platform for automated and autonomous driving in the commercial vehicle sector. The founding team has many years of experience in the development of algorithms for automated driving. The core technology of driveblocks is a combination of Transformer Neural Networks and sensor fusion to create an environment model based on sensor data. Unlike map-based technologies, there is no need for pre-mapping and constant updating of maps in the cloud. The offering is complemented by algorithms that enable customers to fully automate their vehicles. The driveblocks platform is sold both as individual modules and as a system solution via a licensing model, enabling safe, fast and cost-effective automation of a wide range of applications – in mines, in container terminals or on the motorway.

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