Toyota Motor Corp is investing about $500m in Uber Technologies Inc to jointly work on developing self-driving cars.
Uber will combine its autonomous driving system with Toyota’s Guardian technology, which offers automated safety features such as lane-keeping but does not enable a vehicle to drive completely autonomously. The combined technology will be built into Toyota’s Sienna minivans, to be deployed on Uber’s ride-hailing network starting in 2021, Uber said.
Confirming the pact, Jeff Miller, Uber’s head of business development for strategic initiatives, said the partnership “really paints the picture of how we envision deploying autonomous technology in the long term.” That includes licensing its autonomous technology to carmakers and enlisting a third party to own and maintain the fleet.
The third party that will operate the Toyota autonomous fleet has not yet been chosen, Miller added.
For the Japanese automaker, the “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,” its executive vice president Shigeki Tomoyama said in a statement.