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Japanese Open-Source Self-Driving Startup Tier IV Raises Over $100M In Massive Series A

Tier IV, an open-source self-driving startup based in Japan, has raised “over $100 million” in a massive Series A funding round led by Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance.

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The Tokyo company said it aims to use the new capital to facilitate commercialization of self-driving technology in private, depopulated and urban areas. Existing backers Yamaha Motor Co., KDDI Corp., JAFCO Co., and AISAN TECHNOLOGY Co., also participated in the round. Ironically, Tokyo, Japan-based SoftBank, which has been investing like crazy in North and Latin America, did not put money in this round.

Founded in December 2015, Tier IV doesn’t appear to have raised external capital prior to this financing, according to its Crunchbase profile.

Tier IV has developed something called “Autoware,” or what it describes as “the world’s first ‘all-in-one’ open-source software for self-driving technology.” It is so far being used by more than 200 organizations, according to Tier IV, including the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), automotive manufacturers, and “many self-driving startups.”

The company said it has conducted field operational tests of self-driving vehicles powered by its technology in more than 60 regions in and outside of Japan. All the tests were conducted without any accidents, according to Tier IV.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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