Autonomous & Self-Driving Vehicle News: TIER IV, TuSimple, Innoviz & Halo.Car

In autonomous and self-driving vehicle news are TIER IV, TuSimple, Innoviz and Halo.Car.

TIER IV Intros Fanfare

TIER IV, a leader in open-source autonomous driving (AD) technology, proudly announces “fanfare“, an innovative solution designed to ease and accelerate the production of AD-enabled electric vehicles (EVs). This solution offers white-label EV models, empowering customers to commercialize these vehicles under their own brand names and efficiently incorporate AD features.

Solution Overview

The Japanese Government is at the forefront of the Level 4[1] AD initiative, with a goal to deploy Level 4 AD services in at least 50 regions by 2025 and 100 regions by 2027 in Japan. However, the current market faces challenges in procuring affordable EVs certified for Level 4 AD services to meet the high demand.

In response, TIER IV has partnered with multiple car manufacturers to develop a scalable electrical/electronic (E/E) architecture[2] and a redundant drive-by-wire module, enabling customers to define AD features through add-on components. To ease the production of EVs using these technologies and accelerate the deployment of driverless AD services, TIER IV has also published the “L4 Custom Design Guidelines.[3] These guidelines provide basic information intended to advise car manufacturers on integrating AD features into baseline EVs and testing them to comply with Level 4 standards. This initiative has created a new opportunity for manufacturing AD-enabled EVs in domestic production facilities.

Our EV solution “fanfare”, established through these achievements, empowers customers to develop and operate AD-enabled EVs under their own brand names. To ensure a seamless customer experience, comprehensive after-sales services are also under preparation. The initial plan is to introduce this new solution with a minibus model in 2023, gradually expanding the lineup to include multiple models by 2024. TIER IV aims to produce 300 units of AD-enabled EVs with partners in 2025 and continues building up an environment for partners to accelerate mass production of AD-enabled EVs for diverse purposes.

Key Features

With a strong focus on safety, TIER IV has conducted numerous Proof-of-Concept projects demonstrating AD services in multiple counties, actively engaging with regulatory authorities and experts in the corresponding regions. Lessons learned from these projects serve as the best practice for AD-enabled EVs with Level 4 standards to adhere to traffic safety rules and vehicle equipment safety standards. Leveraging this expertise, fanfare’s EV models are designed to accommodate various operational design domains (ODDs)[4] with open specifications of AD software.

The E/E architecture adopted in this solution meets the necessary safety standards, featuring redundant designs for sensors, computers, and drive-by-wire modules dedicated to AD technology to prevent inability to brake or steer due to a single point of failure. These design specifications are also standardized through international industry organizations such as Mobility In Harmony (MIH)[5] and the Autoware Foundation (AWF)[6].

For the initial phase, fanfare’s baseline EVs are procured from multiple car manufacturers, expanded to be compatible with Level 4 AD systems, and then sold to customers as white-label EVs. While there may be differences among the baseline EVs from different manufacturers, TIER IV ensures stable performance and quality to meet vehicle equipment safety standards. As a result, a common set of AD features can be installed in our white-label EVs.

Future Outlook

Following the release of the initial line of EV models TIER IV empowers third-party companies to begin mass production of the same EV models by disclosing the design specifications through the “L4 Custom Design Guidelines” initiative. TIER IV is also actively exploring new opportunities to engage with as many car manufacturers as possible that can provide baseline EVs compatible with the open specifications of fanfare’s EV models. Driven by its commitment to sustainable mobility, TIER IV is dedicated to refining AD-enabled EVs and expanding its vehicle selection to meet the growing demand for driverless AD services in the future.

TIER IV Partners with Tonox

TIER IV, a leader in open-source autonomous driving (AD) technology,  announced its partnership with Tonox, a Japanese manufacturer of specialized vehicles, to accelerate the production of white-label electric vehicles (EV) designed to be extensible with AD systems. This collaboration aims to lay the foundation for future mass production of AD-enabled EVs.

To realize the production of EVs equipped for AD and ensure efficient manufacturing processes, a reliable partner specializing in vehicle customization is essential.

Tonox, with its extensive experience in designing and manufacturing special-purpose vehicles for government agencies and various industries, has deep expertise in providing vehicle modifications, parts, electrical equipment outfitting, and technical capabilities to meet unique specifications. The site area of Tonox’s manufacturing facility is 46,000 ㎡ and their annual production capacity is over 3,000 units. Tonox have the expertise to handle a wide range of vehicle types, from compact cars to buses and trucks, and have established advanced know-how in vehicle modification, installation of components and electrical equipment, and production capabilities.

Throughout this collaboration, Tonox will adhere to TIER IV’s “L4 Custom Design Guidelines “, and serve as TIER IV’s partner in charge of modifying white-label EVs by expanding their capabilities with drive-by-wire and redundancy systems at their factory in Hiratsuka City.

This collaboration marks the beginning of a partnership with the common goal of scaling out the production of AD-enabled EVs, and realizing their widespread implementation in Japan.

TIER IV remains committed to advancing the adoption and evolution of AD technology, with a firm dedication to contributing to this goal in collaboration with our partners.///

TuSimple to Sell US Part

TuSimple (Nasdaq:TSP), a global autonomous driving technology company, announced today that it is evaluating strategic alternatives for its U.S. business with a goal to maximize shareholder value. With the unanimous support of the TuSimple Board of Directors, the company has engaged Perella Weinberg Partners as a financial advisor to explore possible transactions for the U.S.-based portion of its business.

Since its establishment in 2015, TuSimple has built strong and distinct businesses both in the U.S., and in the Asia-Pacific region. These businesses operate with stand-alone engineering teams, software code base, and infrastructure. If a transaction involving the U.S.-based business occurs, TuSimple will continue to be a global Level 4 autonomous driving technology company with greater emphasis on Asia-Pacific and other major global markets.

TuSimple’s U.S. business has built a track record of achieving industry firsts, including the first in the world to successfully complete multiple fully driver-out operations on open public roads. At the core of TuSimple’s technology is its full-stack onboard autonomous driving software with industry leading capabilities across perception, planning, and control, and its world-class offboard toolchain, simulation platform, and data infrastructure to power the rapid development and validation of its technology. Coupled with its testing operations, hardware integration experience, and proprietary autonomous domain controller, TuSimple aims to be the first to commercially launch continuous, cost-competitive autonomous freight operations. TuSimple’s core intellectual property is protected by one of the largest organically developed patent portfolios in the self-driving industry.

No assurances can be given that TuSimple’s exploration of strategic alternatives will result in any change in strategy or a transaction. The decision to explore strategic alternatives for the U.S. business was guided by the company’s review of multiple business factors and commercial opportunities. The company does not plan to make further public comment regarding these matters until the Board of Directors has approved a specific transaction or other alternative or otherwise concluded its review of strategic alternatives.///

Innoviz Partners with LOXO

Innoviz Technologies (NASDAQ: INVZ) (the “Company” or “Innoviz”), a Tier-1 supplier of high-performance, automotive grade LiDAR sensors and perception software, announced  that Switzerland-based LOXO, a provider of zero-emission autonomous delivery vehicles, has signed a letter of intent (LOI) to deploy InnovizOne LiDAR units on its delivery vehicles through 2024.

Innoviz’s automotive-grade LiDAR, InnovizOne, is planned to be used in LOXO’s zero emission, autonomous delivery vehicles, potentially allowing retailers to transport goods from local distribution hubs to end consumers in an efficient and sustainable manner. Earlier this year LOXO and Innoviz went through a successful product evaluation and testing with Innoviz’s Automotive-grade LiDAR, which led to an expanded order of InnovizOne units and a signed LOI for their

Halo.Car Removes Drivers from Remote-Piloted Vehicles

 Halo.Car, the leading provider of on-demand electric vehicles (EVs), tannounced the removal of safety drivers from its remote-piloted vehicles in a world-first commercial launch. The driverless launch comes following four years of testing where safety drivers were present inside Halo.Car’s vehicles during remote piloting.

Halo.Car’s mission is to rapidly accelerate the global transition to EVs with on-demand vehicles for hourly and daily use. When customers book one of Halo.Car’s EVs, the company remotely delivers the vehicle for the customer to drive. When they are finished, customers end the booking and Halo.Car remotely collects the vehicle. The company has been remote-delivering vehicles with safety drivers to customers since 2022.

From today, customers in Las Vegas can book a Halo.Car to their requested location and have it delivered without a safety driver in the vehicle.

“Rolling out driverless delivery is a huge step towards our goal of offering ubiquitous carshare on-demand,” Anand Nandakumar, CEO and Founder of Halo.Car. “We want to make it so easy to get a car on-demand that you no longer need to own a car, or use a rideshare service – you just call a car to drive when you need to go somewhere. Driverless delivery is critical to making this vision of on-demand vehicles economically viable.

After testing for thousands of hours, we’ve proven that our remote-piloting technology is robust enough to take the safety driver out. This commercial launch of driverless delivery is a landmark achievement not only for our company, but for the entire transportation industry. We are really pushing the boundaries of what people believed was possible.”

Halo.Car retrofits its fleet of electric vehicles with cameras, modems, antennas, and other custom-developed components to enable remote driving of the vehicle. Trained ‘remote pilots’ at a Halo.Car operations center use video and sensor data streamed from the vehicle to remotely drive the vehicle. When they complete a remote delivery, they hand over control of the vehicle to the customer and connect to the next vehicle awaiting remote delivery or collection.

The vehicles are remote-piloted over T-Mobile 5G.