Toyota has invested $500 million in Uber to help develop “the world’s safest self-driving car.”
Toyota has announced an investment of $500 million in Uber as the two companies expand their partnership on the development of self-driving cars. The Japanese automaker says that technology from each company will be integrated into purpose-built Toyota vehicles that will be deployed on Uber’s ride-sharing network. Toyota Sienna minivans will be hitting the streets from 2021 on a trial basis equipped with Uber’s self-driving technology.
“Combining efforts with Uber, one of the predominant global ride-sharing and automated driving R&D companies, could further advance future mobility,” said Toyota’s Executive Vice President Shigeki Tomoyama “This agreement and investment mark an important milestone in our transformation to a mobility company, as we help provide a path for safe and secure expansion of mobility services such as ride-sharing that includes Toyota vehicles and technologies.”
Uber will combine its autonomous driving system with Toyota’s Guardian technology, which includes safety tech such as a lane-keeping assist. The move signals Toyota and Uber’s attempt to catch up with rivals such as Waymo in the race to develop autonomous cars for the mass market. Uber is also still trying to salvage its autonomous car business following the fatal crash back in March, in which a self-driving Volvo XC90 struck and killed a pedestrian. Unsurprisingly, Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi was keen to emphasize how safe the self-driving Toyota will be when it deploys in 2021, but the company will no doubt have a tough task winning back public trust.
“Our goal is to deploy the world’s safest self-driving cars on the Uber network,” he said. “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.”