Toyota and Uber to partner on autonomous vehicles

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) and Uber have announced an expansion of their collaboration, with the aim of bringing to market an autonomous ride-sharing as a mobility service.

To do so, the partners will integrate technology from each company into purpose-built Toyota vehicles that will be deployed on Uber’s ride-sharing network.

Uber and Toyota anticipate that the mass-produced autonomous vehicles will eventually be owned and operated by third party autonomous fleet operators.

Toyota also announced that it 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 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.”

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said: “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.”

Pilot-scale deployments are planned to begin on the Uber network in 2021.

The initial ‘Autono-MaaS’ (autonomous-mobility as a service) fleet will be based on Toyota’s Sienna Minivan platform. The autonomous vehicles will incorporate Uber’s Autonomous Driving System and the Toyota Guardian automated safety support system. Toyota will also use its Mobility Services Platform, its 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. 

“We look forward to this partnership accelerating both companies’ development and deployment of automated driving technology.”