Toyota and Uber 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 that will be deployed on Uber’s ride-sharing network.
Separately, Toyota is investing £388m in Uber.
Shigeki Tomoyama, TMC Executive Vice President and President, Toyota Connected Company said: “Combining efforts with Uber, one of the predominant global ride-sharing and automated driving R&D companies, could further advance future mobility.
“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.”
As Uber and Toyota look ahead to a self-driving future, this partnership will be critical in realising 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.
Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s CEO commented: “The deal is the first of its kind for Uber and signals our commitment to bringing world-class technologies to the Uber network.
“Our goal is to deploy the world’s safest self-driving cars on the Uber network. 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 use its Mobility Services Platform (MSPF), its core information infrastructure for connected vehicles. Pilot-scale deployments will begin in the Uber ride-sharing network in 2021.
Dr Gill Pratt, Toyota Research Institute CEO and TMC Fellow added: “Uber’s automated driving system and Toyota’s Guardian system will independently monitor the vehicle environment and real-time situation, enhancing overall vehicle safety for both the automated driver and the vehicle.
“We look forward to this partnership accelerating both companies’ development and deployment of automated driving technology.”
Toyota’s investment in Uber and the proposed collaboration are subject to standard regulatory approvals.