Toyota to invest $500 million in Uber for self-driving cars

29 August, 2018, 09:00 | Author: Gerard Cortez
  • Toyota's move into self-driving cars is imminent. Not sure it means we'll see a Camry Uber but time will tell

The Toyota partnership puts pressure on Uber to resume testing on public roads, but the company has run up against regulators and politicians with safety concerns. Under the agreement, Toyota vehicles will be equipped with Uber's self-driving technology, an unnamed source familiar with the deal told TechCrunch.

Toyota is investing $500 million in Uber and expanding a partnership to work together on developing self-driving cars, the automaker announced on Monday.

Uber had suspended its self-driving vehicle program after a crash that killed a woman pushing a bicycle in a street in Arizona in March of this year.

It's not entirely clear how Toyota stands to gain from this deal, however.

The 81-year-old manufacturing giant is accelerating a push to transform into a mobility-services provider, with Chief Executive Officer Akio Toyoda warning that a once-a-century paradigm shift in the industry has become a life-or-death battle for traditional automakers.

Hans Greimel, Asia editor for the specialist Automotive News publication, said Toyota was "gearing up big-time for autonomous driving". "We knew we couldn't do it alone, which is why we continue to partner with world-class vehicle manufacturers to make our vision a reality".

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Toyota, one of the world's largest auto makers, is seen as lagging behind other companies, including General Motors and Google's Waymo, in the autonomous-vehicle race.

The investment would maintain Uber's valuation of nearly £56 billion and its position as the world's largest start-up company.

Uber suspended its self-driving vehicle testing in the Phoenix area, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto. The self-driving unit is a significant contributor to Uber's losses, which in the second quarter were $891 million. But the company has invested in research and said it plans to begin testing self-driving electric cars around 2020. The Japanese vehicle company will invest $500 million (Rs 3,505 crore) in the cab aggregator firm for the goal, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

The logo of Uber is pictured during the presentation of their new security measures in Mexico City, Mexico April 10, 2018.

Toyota has stated that the initial "Autono-MaaS" (autonomous-mobility as a service) fleet will be based on Toyota's Sienna Minivan platform. Uber isn't Toyota's only investment in a ride-sharing company - it poured $1 billion into Southeast Asia's Grab Holdings Inc. earlier this year and has a partnership with China's Didi Chuxing Inc.

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