The art of open source reimagines Intelligent Vehicles  

About us 

Name : TIER IV 

Established : 2015.12 

Our Core Business : Autonomous Driving platform and reference design 

Locations : Tokyo / Nagoya / Palo Alto 

Number of Employees : 300 (2022.4) 



TIER IV, a deep-tech startup based in Japan, is the creator of  Autoware, the world’s first open-source software for autonomous driving, and provides full-stack solutions for the commercialization of intelligent vehicles based on the Autoware-defined Autonomous Driving Kit (ADK) running on multiple platforms.

As a founding member of the Autoware Foundation, TIER IV is dedicated to providing open access to autonomous driving technology such that everyone, from individuals to organizations, can participate in and contribute to a sustainable ecosystem of intelligent vehicles and autonomous driving technology for the benefit of society.  

About Autoware 

Autoware* is the world’s first “all-in-one” open-source software for autonomous driving vehicles hosted under the Autoware Foundation (AWF). It runs on Linux OS and ROS (Robot Operating System) Middleware, and performs all the required functionality, with contributions from the Autoware Foundation members and communities at large following best-in-class software engineering practices.  

Impressed by the possibilities of the Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) to bring substantial social and economic value, in August 2015, Autoware was released as an open source project in 2015 by Dr. Shinpei Kato at Nagoya University for the development of AV software in Japan. Soon after its initial release, industry demand was too intense to be handled by an academic research group, so the same year, the spinout company, TIER IV, was founded to handle the maintenance and support load for Autoware, and seek further opportunities across Autonomous Driving (AD) market segments.  

Motivated by the potential of an open-source ecosystem that everyone can access, in 2018 TIER IV transferred all rights for Autoware to AWF, the newly formed non-profit organization. Since then, the AWF boasts over 60 members with a mix from companies dealing in semiconductors, electronic device automation, sensors, and academia.  


Autoware meets the challenges of complex autonomous driving development. As a platform, Autoware is designed to run on a wide variety of hardware platforms and it includes all the major components for autonomous vehicles. There is no other autonomous driving software that can be applied to as many types of ECU, sensors and vehicles as Autoware 

As a community, Autoware users support each other to develop intelligent vehicles localized to specific operating environments all over the world. Through this community, Autoware brings together more partners and accelerates the development process to realize real-world intelligent vehicle implementations.  

The open-source structure of the software allows for a multi-party approach to solving challenges on a granular level. Аs a result, Autoware is currently used by over a hundred companies globally, with field operation tests run in about 50 countries, implemented with 30 different types of vehicles.   

*Autoware is a registered trademark of the Autoware Foundation (AWF). 


Our Products 

Although Autoware has already gained considerable traction, TIER IV continuously works to provide a full stack solution to develop and operate autonomous driving systems based on Autoware, enabling our partners to create affordable intelligent vehicles and services from end to end, on a timely basis. 

Pilot.Auto provides a scalable platform based on Autoware’s software architecture, embracing the basic functionality and capability of autonomous driving systems, upon which our developers and partners can create affordable complete systems based on our reference design, satisfying their requirements in a wide range of applications. 

Web.Auto provides a cloud-native DevOps platform incorporating software tools and data pipelines as a service, which helps our developers and partners to save development cost and reduce time to market without compromising the quality of their final product. Given that our product is mostly implemented with open-source software, you may even extend our product to be more functional and more capable, or you may develop technology components that can be engaged with our product. This means that our product can also be used as a reference design to build autonomous driving systems. 


Alliance with Partners 

Throughout its journey, TIER IV has collaborated with many partners, from developers to service providers, to make sure that intelligent vehicles are a part of people’s everyday life. 


As one of the founding members of the Autoware Foundation, TIER IV is committed to providing leadership to achieve the common goals of the Autoware community since Autoware’s release. 

TIER IV’s Founder and CTO, and the father of the Autoware OSS project, Shinpei Kato, serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the AWF. In addition, several senior leaders at TIER IV hold chair/co-chair positions on the AWF committees which define the direction of the Autoware project and ecosystem, as well as in the working groups which work to advance the capabilities of Autoware. 

Most importantly, TIER IV works closely with our partners, the member companies and institutions of the AWF, to advance the state of the art of autonomous driving and bring intelligent vehicles based on Autoware to everyone. 



From the very beginning, TIER IV continuously works to hone the Autoware algorithms through international partnerships. Undoubtedly, the most visible partner is the MIH alliance. Since November 2021, TIER IV has been the chair of the Autonomous Driving Working Group (AD WG) to develop AD and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) requirements and specifications for the MIH Open EV Platform platforms, leveraging AWF Open AD Kit specifications and reference implementations to define AD in a technology agnostic manner. 


TIER IV believes strongly in the power of an open ecosystem to innovate and revolutionize how autonomous driving technology is brought to market, and therefore, the vision of MIH to create an open EV platform to transform the overall electric vehicle market aligns perfectly with TIER IV’s vision. TIER IV plans to work closely with the MIH Open EV Alliance to define, integrate, and scale commercial AD solutions based on the Autoware Open AD Kit. The Autoware Open AD Kit provides a reference framework for SDV development of commercial AD solutions, including cloud-native development pipelines and tools, Autoware AD software in a microservices architecture, real-time middleware and OS solutions, and support for heterogeneous compute platforms. Engaging with the MIH ecosystem will enable TIER IV to work with leading companies in these areas to bring best- in-class AD solutions based on SDV development principles. Together the MIH and Autoware ecosystems will reduce the development time and cost of integrating autonomous driving into the next generation of electric vehicles based on the Open EV Platform and Open AD Kit. 


The MIH Alliance provides a unique opportunity to work closely with and leverage the knowledge and experience of many companies that are leaders in their field as it relates to the advancement of autonomous driving technology. Commercial AD solutions must address a wide variety of requirements spanning vehicle control and sensor integration, cybersecurity, safety and certification, just to name a few.  


To bring the next generation of AD solutions to market, TIER IV hopes to share knowledge and gain further insight from the MIH Alliance and member companies on applying the best practices in areas such as cloud-native software-defined vehicle development, system architecture optimization, and safety/security in real-world applications. As the chair of the MIH ADAS/AD WG, TIER IV will bring leadership to the MIH Alliance and working groups on how AD/ADAS solutions are integrated in the overall Open EV Platform architecture, and in the process, expand awareness of the power of how open source platforms such as Autoware will reimagine and revolutionize how transportation solutions of the future will be developed and brought to market. Through the working group engagements, TIER IV looks forward to developing many new and mutually beneficial relationships with members of the MIH Alliance.   


Shinpei’s quote  

“As one of the key members of both AWF and MIH, TIER IV values open-source software and is working closely with members of both communities to lead the development of Autonomous Driving Technology towards the future of Software-Defined Vehicles”, said Shinpei Kato, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Autoware Foundation, Founder and CTO of TIER IV. “Together, we will build sufficient momentum to transform the automotive industry. “ 



In the space of AVs, the vast majority of development is done inside private companies with proprietary solutions. At the core of Autoware, we strongly believe that open source is the only way to revolutionize how we live by autonomous driving technology. That is why we set our vision as “The Art of Open Source – Reimagine Intelligent Vehicles”. We provide open access to autonomous driving technology such that everyone, from individuals to organizations, can participate in and contribute to a sustainable ecosystem of intelligent vehicles and AD technology for the benefit of society. This idea can be harmonized with the open concept of MIH Alliance, and it would enable us to build and deliver our solutions around Autoware all over the world.  


Website:  https://www.tier4.jp/en/ 

Contact :  Joanna Tang 

Email: joanna.tang@tier4.jp