The Japanese automaker giant, Toyota Motor Corp. will join hands with Uber to work collectively on autonomous autos. Toyota will make an investment of about $500 million and will value Uber at $72 billion to get self-driving cars on the road. Toyota aims to improve security and decrease transportation prices with this initiative. As for Uber, it’s a chance to redeem itself in the budding autonomous transportation sector.
As a part of the alliance, Toyota will manufacture Sienna vehicles, which will be equipped with Uber’s self-driving technology, and another company will operate the fleet, said a source familiar with the project. The third partner has yet to be identified. Consumers can expect “mass-production” of self-driving vehicles that would be deployed on Uber’s ride sharing network.
After Uber withdrew its self-driving cars owing to the autonomous Uber SUV that killed a pedestrian in a fatal crash in Tempe, Arizona, in March, the investment is a ray of hope for the company and its users. With this, Uber consumers’ growing apprehension that Uber is pulling out of the self-driving car space will be finally put to rest.
As for the Uber’s investors, this collaboration will come as a relief especially after it was reported earlier this month that Uber was sinking around $1m-$2m into its autonomy work every single day thanks to the fatal crash and the expensive lawsuit that followed.
This $500 billion project is expected to be piloted in 2021.
The potential of self-driving cars to power car-sharing services represents a major challenge in an industry dominated by individual car ownership. For Toyota, it presents an opportunity to reinvent itself from a car maker to a mobility platform.
“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.”
-Shigeki Tomoyama, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Corporation
Toyota has been lagging behind in the scene of self driving cars, while Uber’s troubled self-driving car efforts are in desperate need of external help.
It would, therefore, be interesting to see how this joint collaboration works in favour of both, Toyota and Uber.
For more details on this story, head over to Fortune’s coverage of this news.