New investment to accelerate Uber’s deployment of automated ridesharing services

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Toyota Motor Corp., Denso Corporation and the SoftBank Vision Fund (SVF) will invest US$1bn in Uber Technologies Inc.’s Advanced Technologies Group (Uber ATG) to accelerate the development and commercialization of automated ridesharing services.  

Under the terms of the funding, Toyota and Denso will together invest US$667m and SVF will invest US$333m, valuing the newly formed Uber ATG corporate entity at US$7.25bn on a post-money basis. Toyota invested US$500m in Uber in August 2018, when the two companies announced their intention to bring pilot-scale deployments of automated Toyota Sienna-based ridesharing vehicles to the Uber ridesharing network in 2021, combining the strengths of Uber ATG’s self-driving technology alongside the Toyota Guardian advanced safety support system.

The further investment and expanded partnership builds on the progress made to date, deepening the companies’ collaboration in designing and developing next-generation autonomous vehicle hardware. Expected to close in the third quarter of this year, the deal will also prepare the companies and industry for the mass production and commercialization of automated ridesharing vehicles and services.

Toyota will also contribute up to an additional US$300m over the next three years to help cover the costs related to these activities as the partnership moves toward its ultimate goal of creating safe autonomous ridesharing at scale. The majority of Uber ATG’s previous autonomous research has involved Volvo and Ford vehicles.

“This investment and our strong partnership with the Toyota Group are a testament to the incredible work of our ATG team to date, and the exciting future ahead for this important project, alongside great partners,” commented Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber.

“The development of automated driving technology will transform transportation as we know it, making our streets safer and our cities more livable. This announcement, along with our ongoing OEM and supplier relationships, will help maintain our position at the forefront of that transformation.”

Shigeki Tomoyama, Toyota executive vice president and president of the auto maker’s in-house Connected Company, said, “We are dedicated to realizing a safe and secure future mobility society. Leveraging the strengths of Uber ATG’s autonomous vehicle technology and service network and our vehicle control system technology, mass-production capability, and advanced safety support systems, such as Toyota Guardian, will enable us to commercialize safer, lower cost automated ridesharing vehicles and services.

“We believe that the combined work of Toyota, Denso and Uber ATG on developing n

ext-generation autonomous vehicle hardware will accelerate the timeline for and early success of automated ridesharing services.”

Hiroyuki Wakabayashi, executive vice president of Denso, added, “Among the biggest challenges facing automated driving, most lie in how to implement both the hardware and the software at scale. As a global automotive supplier, we are excited to collaborate with Uber ATG and Toyota to develop advanced automated driving hardware that we believe will transform future mobility.”

Rajeev Misra, CEO of the SoftBank Vision Fund, noted, “The team at Uber ATG has made significant progress developing highly robust automated ridesharing technology. With a comprehensive platform of hardware and software, the largest global ridesharing network and Toyota’s partnership, this collaboration is well-positioned to deploy automated ridesharing services at scale.”

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Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.

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