Toyota Invests $500 Million in Uber for Self-Driving Cars
The main objective of these two companies to develop an ‘Autonomous Mass-Transit-as-a-Service system’ (Autonomo-MaaS), using Toyota Sienna minivans equipped with self-driving technology. The partnership aims to develop the self-driving vehicle system at scale, although the mass-produced vehicle fleet would be owned and operated by a third part autonomous fleet operator.
Shigeki Tomoyama, executive vice president, TMC, and president, Toyota Connected Company said in a company statement: “Combining efforts with Uber, one of the predominant global ride-sharing and automated driving R&D companies, could further advance future mobility. This agreement and investment marks an important milestone in our transformation to a mobility company as we help provide a path for safe and secure expansion of mobility services like ride-sharing that includes Toyota vehicles and technologies.”
“The deal is the first of its kind for Uber, and signals our commitment to bringing world-class technologies to the Uber network,” said Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s CEO. “Our goal is to deploy the world’s safest self-driving cars on the Uber network, and this agreement is another significant step towards making that a reality. Uber’s advanced technology and Toyota’s commitment to safety and its renowned manufacturing prowess make this partnership a natural fit. I look forward to seeing what our teams accomplish together.”
The initial “Autono-MaaS” (autonomous-mobility as a service) fleet will be based on Toyota’s Sienna Minivan platform. Uber’s Autonomous Driving System and the Toyota Guardian automated safety support system will both be integrated into the Autono-MaaS vehicles. Toyota will also utilize its Mobility Services Platform (MSPF), its core information infrastructure for connected vehicles. Pilot-scale deployments will begin on the Uber ride-sharing network in 2021.
“Uber’s automated driving system and Toyota’s Guardian system will independently monitor the vehicle environment and real-time situation, enhancing overall vehicle safety for both the automated driver and the vehicle,” said Dr. Gill Pratt, Toyota Research Institute CEO and TMC Fellow. “We look forward to this partnership accelerating both companies’ development and deployment of automated driving technology.”