Toyota Motor and Uber Expand Collaboration on Toyota and Uber

While the public remains skeptical about the safety of autonomous vehicles, makers tout their safety systems. They doth protest too much methinks?

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) and Uber Technologies, Inc. (Uber) say they have agreed to expand their collaboration with the aim of advancing and bringing to market autonomous ride-sharing as a mobility service at scale. Pilot-scale deployments will begin on the Uber ride-sharing network in 2021.

To accomplish this, technology from each company will be integrated into purpose-built Toyota vehicles to be deployed on Uber’s ride-sharing network. Separately, Toyota is investing $500 million 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, TMC, and president, Toyota Connected Company.

“This agreement and investment are 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,” Tomoyama claimed.

The partnership “will be critical in realizing self-driving technology at scale. Uber and Toyota anticipate that the mass-produced autonomous vehicles will be owned and operated by mutually agreed upon third party autonomous fleet operators,” the two giant companies said in a release.

“The deal is the first of its kind for Uber, and signals our commitment to bringing world-class technologies to the Uber network,” “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,” claimed Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s CEO

The initial “Autono-MaaS” (autonomous-mobility as a service. We are not making this up) fleet will be based on Toyota’s Sienna Minivan. Uber’s Autonomous Driving System and the Toyota Guardian automated safety support system will both be integrated into Autono-MaaS vehicles. Toyota will also use its Mobility Services Platform (MSPF), its core information infrastructure for connected vehicles.

“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. ”

Toyota’s investment in Uber and the proposed collaboration are subject to standard regulatory approvals.



About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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