Toyota has announced that it’s investing $500 million in Uber as part of an expansion of the collaboration between both companies. The new investment will see self-driving Toyota vehicles added to Uber’s rides sharing fleet in 2021.
Uber’s self driving technology will be added to the vehicles, in addition to Toyota’s Guardian technology. Initially the fleet, which the two companies are calling the “Autono-MaaS” (autonomous-mobility as a service) will consist of a fleet of self-driving Toyota Sienna minivans.
“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.”
Both companies also see this type of partnership as the future, since they anticipate that mass-produced autonomous vehicles will be owned and operated by third party autonomous fleet operators.
“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.”