Japanese automaker Toyota plans to invest $500 million in Uber to collaborate on developing self-driving cars according to CGTN. This will give Toyota a competitive edge in the self-driving car business while offering Uber a chance to revive its strategy after a fatal crash earlier this year that caused the company to close down its Arizona self-driving hub.
In the past, Uber and Toyota have partnered in a car-leasing program for Uber drivers which means this new partnership could further strengthen their existing relationship.
The Toyota and Uber collaboration is in line with Uber’s plan to develop self-driving cars through partnerships as opposed to doing it alone.
The partnership will combine Uber’s autonomous driving system with Toyota’s Guardian technology which provides automated safety features but does not allow the vehicle to drive completely by its own.
The combined technologies will be used on Toyota Sienna minivans which will “be deployed on Uber’s ride-hailing network” from 2021. The fleet will be owned and operated by an unknown third party as mentioned on CGTN. The two companies will also seek to address the problem of mass producing self-driving cars.
Although Toyota has already invested in the research and development of self-driving cars, it has been cautious about moving completely into autonomous driving. However, there are reports that the automaker could be planning on testing self-driving electric cars around 2020.