TIER IV has launched two commercial autonomous driving software platforms – Pilot.Auto and Web.Auto – that help support the lifecycle of autonomous driving systems, from development to operation. Both platforms can be used in multiple operational design domains (ODD), including closed spaces with restricted traffic and pedestrian-vehicle mixed traffic in urban areas.

Pilot.Auto is an autonomous driving software platform based on “Autoware”, an open-source software (OSS) for autonomous driving whose development will be led by TIER IV. The platform seeks to help partners achieve their own autonomous driving goals in accordance with TIER IV’s proprietary reference design specifications. Web.Auto is a development and operation (DevOps) software platform for expanding and improving Pilot.Auto to meet individual requirements specified by the partner’s systems. Together, both platforms help benefit partners by reducing development costs, and shortening the time-to-market, of their autonomous solutions.

Pilot.Auto provides a variety of functions for the implementation of autonomous driving systems by customers in their respective communities. Its customization capabilities enable the addition, and expansion, of functions to meet the function and performance requirements for individual use cases and ODD. It can perform evaluations of new functions so that customers can respond to specific requirements within a short time. Pilot.Auto also incorporates Autoware-based autonomous driving systems into a wide range of autonomous vehicles by utilizing TIER IV’s proprietary tools.

The platform allows for the adaptation of software to target driving environments. Here, it offers tuning and verification to ensure safe and comfortable driving in accordance with specific use cases and ODD. It also provides maintenance for customized, integrated, and adapted software, regularly inspecting entire systems – such as vehicles, software, and over-the-air (OTA) software updates.

Pilot.Auto currently provides five variants of the reference designs – cargo transport, shuttle buses, robo-taxis, consumer vehicles, and delivery robots. Each reference design defines the functions and performance requirements that are essential for specific use cases and ODD. The platform is equipped with the basic software and hardware designs to meet those requirements. The reference designs provided by TIER IV provide a foundation for the development of autonomous driving systems for its partners and can significantly reduce the cost and lead time required for the development and operation of autonomous vehicles.

Web.Auto is a cloud-native, edge-intensive, DevOps software platform that aids the development and safe operations of autonomous driving systems. This platform is configured with the necessary development platform tools (e.g., autonomous driving simulators, CI/CD data pipeline) to develop autonomous driving systems efficiently and effectively. It also provides operation platform tools (e.g., fleet management systems, and remote monitoring systems that can be integrated into third-party applications) that support the safe operation and maintenance of vehicles equipped with autonomous driving systems.

TIER IV has formulated a roadmap to develop Pilot.Auto and Web.Auto for the application of the five reference designs. By the end of 2023, it plans to increase the functionality of the cargo transport use design to L4 – operating in closed spaces such as factories, airports, and theme parks. By the end of 2025, the company plans to implement its shuttle bus reference designs for L4 AVs in local cities – implementing the buses across 40 locations in Japan. By this time, TIER IV is also looking to take its cargo transport reference designs overseas while providing L3 autonomy for the consumer vehicle reference design.

By the end of 2028, TIER IV plans to realize the functions of its reference designs for L4 autonomous vehicles – including the shuttle bus, robotaxi, and consumer vehicle – in major urban areas. It will also look to accelerate the application of its reference designs for these vehicles internationally. At the end of the decade, TIER IV plans to be compatible with major driving environments in Japan and overseas for each reference design.

Through Pilot.Auto and Web.Auto, TIER IV ultimately aims to improve the capabilities of autonomous driving development. It will continue to provide autonomous driving software platforms to the market, and form an ecosystem where any organization or individual support the development of autonomous driving technologies and services.