Uber to go driver-less with Toyota backing

Uber CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi and president, Toyota Connected Company, Shigeki Tomoyama

Tokyo: Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) and Uber Technologies, Inc have announced that they have agreed to expand their collaboration with the aim of advancing and bringing to market autonomous ride-sharing as a mobility service at scale.

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.

"Combining efforts with Uber, one of the predominant global ride-sharing and automated driving R&D companies, could further advance future mobility," said executive vice president, TMC and president, Toyota Connected Company Shigeki Tomoyama.

"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."

As Uber and Toyota look ahead to a self-driving future, this 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 Uber CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi.

"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."

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 utilize 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.

Toyota's investment in Uber and the proposed collaboration are subject to standard regulatory approvals.


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