Japanese multinational automotive manufacturer Toyota, has invested a whopping $500 million into Uber, giving it a valuation reported at $72 billion.
Toyota has invested the mony to roll out a self-driving fleet according to The Wall Street Journal. Uber’s most recently stated valuation was $62 billion, based on a self-reported tender offer at the end of the first quarter.
It was also this past June that Toyota put $1 billion into ride-hailing firm Grab, a rival of Uber. With Toyota’s funding, it valued Grab at just over $10 billion, according to a person familiar with the company during the time.
At the time, Toyota Executive Vice President Shigeki Tomoyama stated, “I am delighted that we are strengthening our collaboration, which utilizes Toyota’s connected technologies.”
Both Uber and Toyota announced that Toyota’s investment is to accelerate autonomous ride-sharing.
Under the deal, both Toyota and Uber will incorporate self-driving technology into vehicles based on Toyota’s Sienna minivans. The two companies plan to begin piloting the program in 2021, they said. Toyota has dubbed the platform “Autono-MaaS,” standing for “autonomous mobility as a service.”
“Combining efforts with Uber, one of the predominant global ride-sharing and automated driving R&D companies, could further advance future mobility,” commented Shigeki Tomoyama.
“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 deal is the first of its kind for Uber, and signals our commitment to bringing world-class technologies to the Uber network,” said 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.”
“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,” said 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.”