Toyota and Uber will work together to develop self-driving
cars, and the agreement comes with a $500 million investment in Uber by the Japanese automaker.
Technology from each company will be integrated into Toyota
vehicles that will be available through Uber’s ride-sharing network.
“Combining efforts with Uber, one of the predominant global
ride-sharing and automated driving R&D companies, could further advance
future mobility,” says Shigeki Tomoyama, executive vice president, Toyota Motor
Corporation and president of Toyota Connected Company.
“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 partnership calls for Uber’s Autonomous Driving System
and Toyota’s Guardian automated safety support system to be integrated into
Toyota’s vehicles, beginning with the Sienna Minivans.
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The “Autono-MaaS” (autonomous-mobility as a service) vehicles
will be owned and operated by a mutually-agreed upon third party autonomous fleet
“The deal is the first of its kind for Uber, and signals our
commitment to bringing world-class technologies to the Uber network,” says 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.”
This partnership comes after Toyota had been testing
autonomous vehicles through its Toyota Research Institute in California and
Michigan, but it halted those tests in March after an Uber self-driving vehicle
was involved in a fatal crash in Arizona.
“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,” says Dr. Gill Pratt, Toyota Research Institute CEO and Toyota fellow.
“We look forward to this partnership accelerating both
companies’ development and deployment of automated driving technology."
Uber says pilot-scale deployments of the self-driving
minivans will begin on the Uber ride-sharing network in 2021.
This is Toyota’s second investment in Uber. In 2016, the two
companies announced a memorandum of understanding “to explore collaboration… in
the world of ridesharing…” The financial terms of that deal were not disclosed.