Considering how Toyota sees the forseeable future as ‘self-driving’, it only makes sense that they make moves in further developing it and making autonomous driving marketable. Seeing as they plan to shift into a ‘mobility company’ rather than a car manufacturer, Toyota’s latest move bolsters their collaboration with renowned ride-sharing app Uber.
Today, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) and Uber Technologies, Inc. (UBER) have announced that they have agreed to expand their collaboration towards advancing and bringing to market autonomous ride-sharing as a mobility service at scale.
To achieve this, technologies from both companies will be integrated into purposely-built Toyota vehicles which will be deployed via Uber’s ride-sharing network.
"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 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."
With Toyota and Uber both looking towards a self-driving future, this partnership will be key in helping utilize autonomous driving technologies at scale. That said, Uber and Toyota anticipate that mass-produced autonomous vehicles will probably be owned and operated by third-party companies such as fleet operators.
From the looks of it, the initial "Autono-MaaS" (autonomous-mobility as a service) fleet will be based off Toyota's Sienna Minivan platform. Uber's Autonomous Driving System and the Toyota Guardian automated safety support system will both be integrated into these vehicles as tests are conducted.
Toyota is also reportedly investing a $500 million stake in Uber to help realize this mutual goal.