Toyota invests $500 million in Uber to develop self-driving car fleet

An Uber app on a mobile telephone in central London on September 22. On Monday, Toyota announced it would invest $500 million in Uber to facilitate the development of self-driving technology. File Photo by Will Oliver/EPA-EFE

Aug. 28 (UPI) — Toyota announced a $500 million investment in Uber to facilitate the development of the ride-hailing service’s self-driving car fleet, the two companies announced on Monday.

The partnership ensures that Toyota’s self-driving technology will be used in Uber’s rapidly growing plans to develop a self-driving ride sharing service. And by 2021, Uber plans to have a fleet of Toyota Sienna Minivans equipped with self-driving technology to provide rides to customers.

“Combining efforts with Uber, one of the predominant global ride-sharing and automated driving R&D companies, could further advance future mobility,” Shigeki Tomoyama, the president of the Toyota Connected Company, said in a statement. “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.”

According to The New York Times, the $500 million investment provides some cushion for Uber so it can continue testing and developing self-driving technology while not having to pay the full expense for the fleet of vehicles.

And this isn’t the first time an auto company has teamed up with a tech company.

Waymo, the Google-owned self-driving technology company, has formed partnerships with Chrysler and Jaguar Land Rover. And Lyft has worked with Ford and General Motors.

“We’re seeing marriages of companies of complementary abilities,” Brian Collie of Boston Consulting Group told CNN. “Partnerships are quite necessary and create value toward bringing mobility as a service to the market faster.”


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