Tier IV, a developer of open-source software for autonomous driving (AD) systems, will launch a proprietary robotaxi service in Tokyo, with initial testing set to commence in November 2024.

Initially, the service will target areas and times that conventional taxi operators struggle to serve, beginning with proof of concept (PoC) tests in the Tokyo Bay area of Odaiba. Tier IV then aims to gradually expand the scope of the service to cover major districts in Tokyo by 2025, and the entire metropolitan area by 2027. Here, the company is looking to facilitate cohesion between new robotaxi services and existing mobility ecosystems.

Tier IV developed multiple classes of the reference design for developing AD systems based on Autoware, its open-source AD software. The reference design itself presents appropriate vehicle models and environments, often referred to as operating design domains (ODDs), in which AD systems are verified and validated to be functional utilizing Tier IV’s software platforms.

For technical validation, the robotaxi reference design incorporated into the JPN TAXI vehicle model has achieved sufficient safety and availability, effectively defining ODDs even in heavy-traffic areas. Commercial applications have also been deployed successfully, leveraging several other variants that inherited from the robotaxi reference design, for public transportation networks nationwide and in-factory logistics.

Building on these announcements, Tier IV also highlighted its plans to support the future commercialization of new robotaxi services. Through its PoC tests in Odaiba, the company will look to facilitate public access by November 2024. At the same time, it will engage in discussions with transportation operators to ensure seamless integration into existing mobility ecosystems.

Looking ahead, Tier IV plans to expand these robotaxi services further, ensuring safety and availability standards comparable to that offered in conventional taxis. Initially targeting key areas within Tokyo before expanding citywide, Tier IV ultimately aims to deliver open innovation across the autonomous driving sector.