Tier IV, Inc. (hereinafter “Tier IV”), Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc. (hereinafter “Sompo Japan Nipponkoa”), and Aisan Technology Co., Ltd. (hereinafter “Aisan Technology”) have formed a business partnership agreement on February 15, 2019 for the joint development of the insurtech solution “Level IV Discovery,” which will support the demonstration of systematic, safe, and secure autonomous driving services in all regions of Japan.
As the development of practical autonomous driving technology continues, a shift to unmanned mobility services on regular roads in areas such as logistics and passenger services is anticipated. The Japanese government is also working towards setting up systems for the practical use of autonomous driving, such as the “Outline for Establishing Institutions Related to Autonomous Driving” released in April 2018 and “Safe Technology Guidelines for Autonomous Driving” released in September 2018. In all areas of Japan, technological development and demonstrations/experiments are well underway.
However, the process to socially implement autonomous driving technology as a regional service, particularly planning Operational Design Domains (ODDs), which consider regional transportation circumstances and road conditions, will require a great amount of technological development, accumulated know-how, risk analysis, and risk countermeasures.
To date, demonstrations/experiments using Tier IV’s autonomous driving system and Aisan Technology’s high-precision 3D map data on regular roads have been conducted in over 100 locations, including those within and outside of Japan. They have accumulated large-scale driving data and know-how, even when compared with that of other global actors.
Sompo Japan Nipponkoa has participated in Tier IV and Aisan Technology’s demonstrative experiments, providing risk assessment in accordance with the environment and conditions, and accumulating safety-related know-how. In addition, in September 2018, with the cooperation of Tier IV and Aisan Technology, Sompo Japan Nipponkoa set up a connected support center to remotely watch over the passengers of a driverless autonomous car (i.e. level 4 autonomous driving). Further, they hold the traffic accident data of approximately 13,000,000 auto insurance subscribers and provide drive recorders for over 100,000 vehicles.
Now, uniting the autonomous driving technology and know-how that are Tier IV and Aisan Technology’s strengths with Sompo Japan Nipponkoa’s big data, which is instrumental to safety, these three companies have agreed to the joint development of the insurtech solution “Level IV Discovery,” which will support municipal governments and transportation businesses in systematically guaranteeing the safety and security of autonomous driving services and in demonstrating such services on regular roads in all areas of Japan. Tier IV, Aisan Technology, and Sompo Japan Nipponkoa have partnered for this purpose.
*Operational Design Domain (ODD): an area in which an autonomous vehicle can safely operate, designated on the basis of various conditions such as geography, roads, speed, and vehicle specifications.
2. Business partnership overview
(1) Joint development of “Level IV Discovery” by Tier IV, Sompo Japan Nipponkoa, and Aisan Technology
(2) Deployment by Sompo Japan Nipponkoa of vehicles for experimental autonomous driving and the collection of driving environment data
3. About “Level IV Discovery,” the insurtech solution for the demonstration of autonomous driving services
“Level IV Discovery” is an insurtech solution that fulfills the prevention, monitoring, and compensation functions necessary for the demonstration of services using driverless (level 4) autonomous vehicles. By providing not only aid for victims in the unlikely event of an accident (compensation), but also utilizing technology to watch over driving safety during operation (monitoring) and conducting security inspections in the planning stages (prevention), Level IV Discovery aims to advance from “insurance that prepares for accidents” to “insurance that prevents accidents.” With the one-stop provision of all the solutions listed below, appropriate risk management that considers the special characteristics of each region will make it possible to conduct systematic, safe, and secure demonstration of autonomous driving services in various regions with future mobility services in mind.
(1) Accident prevention: risk assessment service that uses high-precision 3D map data and an autonomous driving simulator
(2) Accident monitoring: operator service at a connected support center that remotely monitors the security of autonomous vehicles and their passengers
(3) Accident compensation: digital insurance product based on analysis of autonomous vehicle driving environment data
4. Regarding future developments
We will continue the development of the “Level IV Discovery” prototype and begin test-provision in the latter half of 2019. We then aim to start operational provision of solutions to municipalities and transportation businesses in all regions of Japan by the latter half of 2020.
Through this business partnership, Tier IV, Sompo Japan Nipponkoa, and Aisan Technology will accelerate their coordination with other partners and contribute to the social implementation of fully autonomous driving technology.