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Toyota and Uber extend autonomous car partnership

Toyota and Uber are to co-develop an autonomous ride-sharing service, scheduled to launch in 2021.

Uber CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, and Toyota Motor Corporation executive vice president Shigeki Tomoyama

Uber CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, and Toyota Motor Corporation executive vice president Shigeki Tomoyama

The agreement builds upon on a 2016 Memorandum of Understanding to look at opportunities to launch ride-sharing services based on Toyota vehicles and Uber’s technology platform, and launches as the carmaker separately invests $500m (£388m) in the technology company.

This will launch Autono-MaaS (Automomous Mobility as a Service), based on the Toyota Sienna MPV. The technology will be underpinned by the two companies’ autonomous driving systems, and the Toyota Mobility Services Platform, which communicates with its connected vehicles. The investment and collaboration are subject to regulatory approvals.

Shigeki Tomoyama, executive vice president, TMC, and president, Toyota Connected Company. “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.”

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.”

The collaboration with Uber comes as other parts of the Toyota Group accelerate their autonomous vehicle plans. Wholly-owned component suppliers Jtekt and Denso, and 30%-owned Aisin and its subsidiary Advics announced that they are intending to establish a joint venture which will develop ECU software for autonomous cars.

Scheduled to launch in March, the joint company will bring together expertise in components such as sensors, brakes and steering which are required for automated driving, enabling the development of more sophisticated management software which works with the different companies’ parts. It will be capitalised with the participation ratio of Denso 65%, Aisin 25%, Advics 5% and Jtekt 5%.

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Alex Grant

Trained on Cardiff University’s renowned Postgraduate Diploma in Motor Magazine Journalism, Alex is an award-winning motoring journalist with ten years’ experience across B2B and consumer titles. A life-long car enthusiast with a fascination for new technology and future drivetrains, he joined Fleet World in April 2011, contributing across the magazine and website portfolio and editing the EV Fleet World Website.