The Japanese auto major, Toyota and American ride aggregator, uber, have just announced that they will expand their existing tie-up to develop self-driving cars jointly. As part of the agreed deal, the Japanese automaker is set to invest a large sum of $500 million in the US tech firm in a deal that values the latter at a whopping $72 billion.
According to a joint press release issued by both companies, self-driving technology from Uber’s Autonomous Driving System and Toyota’s ‘Guardian’ automated safety support system will be integrated into purpose-built Toyota Sienna Minivans that will be a part of the so-called “Autono-MaaS” (autonomous-mobility as a service) fleet which is expected to be rolled out by the two companies.
Uber’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, in a press statement expressed his satisfaction at the deal, saying that it will help the company to deploy the safest autonomous cars in the world. According to him, “The deal is a first of its kind for Uber and signals our commitment to bringing world-class technologies to the Uber network”.
“The goal of our company is to deploy the world’s safest self-driving cars on the Uber network, and this agreement is another big step towards making that a reality. Uber’s advanced tech and Toyota’s commitment to safety and its renowned manufacturing prowess make this partnership a natural fit. I am looking forward to seeing what our teams can accomplish together.”
Shigeki Tomoyama, the executive vice president of Toyota Motor Corporation and president, Toyota Connected Company, also echoed the sentiments, saying, “This agreement and investment marks an important milestone in our transformation to a mobility service like ride sharing that includes Toyota technologies and vehicles”.