TIER IV selected for government’s new SBIR initiatives: Establishing safety assessment processes for Level 4 autonomous driving

TOKYO, April 2, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — TIER IV, a pioneer in open-source autonomous driving (AD) technology, is proud to announce its selection for a project aimed at demonstrating AD technology for regional public transportation. This project is part of the SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) phase 3 funding*. Under the project managed by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), TIER IV forms a consortium with key companies and institutions involved in autonomous driving, including BOLDLY, Advanced Smart Mobility, Kanagawa Institute of Technology, and the National Traffic Safety and Environment Laboratory. The consortium’s grant ceiling is approximately 7.7 billion yen (approximately 50 million US dollars) over the four-year period from fiscal year 2024 to fiscal year 2027.

The Japanese government has set a goal of establishing AD services to tackle sustainability issues in regional public transportation. The consortium, led by TIER IV, will support efforts to establish safety assessment processes for AD systems and roll out AD services, leveraging the insights gained from past government projects and collective expertise of the members. TIER IV will work with the members to build:

An integrated DevOps framework designed to support Level 4 AD certification:

Defining operational design domains Deriving risk scenarios Establishing safety assessment methods using vehicles and simulators Creating workflows for manuals ensuring the safe operations of AD systems Establishing DevOps processes encompassing design, verification & validation, test and analysis

AD packages tailored for regional stakeholders to facilitate the implementation of AD services within their communities:

Vehicles compatible with Level 4 regulations Safety assessment methods and simulators Fleet management systems for autonomous vehicles Integration and adaptation manuals for AD services Utility tools etc.

Through these efforts, TIER IV and consortium members are poised to contribute to the government’s goal of deploying autonomous vehicles in over 100 cities by 2027, addressing challenges such as driver shortages and other issues facing regional public transportation.

*The Japanese government’s SBIR program provides subsidies for large-scale technology demonstrations (phase 3) conducted by startups and other organizations. The goal is to connect research and development to the implementation of advanced technologies in society.


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.

Autoware is a registered trademark of the Autoware Foundation.

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