Toyota and Uber extend autonomous vehicle ridesharing collaboration
Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) and Uber Technologies, Inc. announced that they have agreed to expand their autonomous ridesharing as a mobility service collaboration. To accomplish this, technology from each company will be integrated into purpose-built Toyota vehicles to be deployed on Uber's ride-sharing network.
Separately, Toyota is investing $500 million in Uber. Toyota's investment in Uber and the proposed collaboration are subject to standard regulatory approvals.
Shigeki Tomoyama, Executive Vice President, TMC, and President, Toyota Connected Company, said that combining efforts with the global ridesharing and automated driving R&D company could further advance future mobility.
The companies say that the partnership will be critical in realizing self-driving technology at scale. Uber and Toyota anticipate that the mass-produced autonomous vehicles will be owned and operated by mutually agreed upon third-party autonomous fleet operators.
"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."
Carl Doty, Vice President, Emerging Technology Research, Forrester, said, “Toyota has been mistakenly portrayed as a laggard in vehicle autonomy because it hasn’t made public deals like so many of its competitors, until now. A company doesn’t throw $3-billion at something it promises to reveal in two years if it doesn’t have something up its sleeve. This entire space will essentially evolve into different flavors of ‘mobility-as-a-service’ business models. Successful commercialization will require three things: 1. A fully integrated technology stack; 2. A scalable manufacturing operation; and 3. An efficient fleet management operation. No single company can pull that off on their own.”
The initial "Autono-MaaS" (autonomous-mobility as a service) fleet will be based on Toyota's Sienna Minivan platform. Uber's Autonomous Driving System and the Toyota Guardian automated safety support system will both be integrated into the Autono-MaaS vehicles. Toyota will also use its Mobility Services Platform (MSPF), its core information infrastructure for connected vehicles. Pilot-scale deployments will begin on the Uber ride-sharing network in 2021.