Toyota Invests $500M in Uber Automation Collaboration
Not only will Uber get cash out of the deal, but it will also have access to Toyota’s cars and tech.
Uber is evolving. The San Francisco-based company once known for its breakthrough in ride-hailing has expanded into exploring electric scooters, air travel, and vehicle autonomy technology for its future business model. Now, Toyota has announced that it too wants a piece of the Uber pie by throwing a high-stakes investment of $500 million directly into the pockets of the mobility provider.
The investment comes after firms reportedly valued Uber as high as $72 billion, making the company a clear choice for Toyota to sink its teeth into. But that's not all, because on top of the capital investment, Toyota will also provide two invaluable resources to Uber: its vehicles and its software.
Toyota will provide Uber with its Sienna minivans as an initial pilot platform, similar to Waymo using the Chrysler Pacifica and Jaguar i-Pace. Together, the companies will make use of the ride-hailing company's existing semi-autonomous tech software suite that is available today, as well as encompass Uber's future in-development software with Toyota's Guardian platform to enable a better-connected ecosystem of software and sensor stacks. The partnership expects to deliver workable small-scale rollouts as early as 2021.
“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’s 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.”
In addition to Uber, Toyota plans to utilize Guardian in its own vehicles going forward. The Japanese automaker is notoriously conservative with new technology, meaning that the automaker even glancing at a future of autonomy hints that it believes in a driverless, or at least semi-driverless, future in the automotive industry.