Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Suzuki and TIER IV Join Forces to Develop Self-Driving Micro Cars

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Japanese automaker Suzuki has partnered with automated driving tech start-up TIER IV to develop self-driving micro cars. The collaboration aims to accelerate the commercialization of autonomous technology, particularly in the production of autonomous kei cars, which are popular in the Japanese market.

Suzuki, based in Hamamatsu in Shizuoka prefecture, has entered into a ‚Äúcapital and business alliance‚ÄĚ with the Nagoya-based start-up. According to reports, Suzuki has committed to investing approximately 8 billion yen ($50 million) in TIER IV.

See also: Nissan Launches Autonomous Driving Trials in Japan with LEAF Prototype

Kei cars, known for their compact size and efficient engines, adhere to strict regulations in Japan, including dimensions and engine capacity limitations. They offer owners benefits such as lower prices, taxes, and insurance rates, and have historically represented nearly 40% of new car sales in Japan.

Suzuki has been a key player in the kei car market, with four models among the top 10 best sellers in 2023. The company aims to bring kei cars into a new era through its partnership with TIER IV. Initially, the start-up will develop an automated prototype based on an existing Suzuki kei car, with insights gained from this project informing Suzuki’s future vehicle designs.

See also: Cruise, GM, and Honda Ink MoU to Launch Autonomous Ridehail Service in Japan by 2026

TIER IV is utilizing Autoware, an open-source software developed by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and Nagoya University, among others. This approach allows TIER IV to collaborate with a global network of partners, offering scalable software platforms and a variety of solutions.

The partnership with TIER IV is part of Suzuki’s broader strategy to expand its portfolio of automated mobility solutions. In April last year, Suzuki announced a partnership with Australia‚Äôs Applied EV to develop an autonomous EV platform. More recently, the company confirmed an investment in California‚Äôs Glydways, which specializes in autonomous Personal Rapid Transit vehicles.

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