Toyota and Uber are planning to work together to mass-produce autonomous vehicles for deployment on Uber’s ride-sharing network.
The two companies have agreed to expand their existing collaboration with the aim of advancing autonomous ride-sharing as a mobility service at scale. Technology from each company will be integrated into purpose-built Toyota vehicles that will then be operated on Uber’s network.
It’s anticipated that the vehicles will be owned and operated by third party autonomous fleet operators.
The Japanese carmaker is also investing $500m (£383m) 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 Shigeki Tomoyama, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) and president of 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.”
The initial fleet of self-driving cars will be based on Toyota’s Sienna Minivan model and will incorporate Uber’s Autonomous Driving System and the Toyota Guardian automated safety support system.
“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,” explained Dr Gill Pratt, Toyota Research Institute CEO and TMC Fellow. “We look forward to this partnership accelerating both companies’ development and deployment of automated driving technology.”