Toyota and SoftBank joint venture to develop new automated on-demand mobility services


Toyota Motor Corporation and SoftBank Corp. have agreed to form a strategic partnership to facilitate the creation of new mobility services, and plan to establish a joint venture company that will be focused on Mobility-On-Demand (MOD) and ‘e-hailed’ multimodal automated transport.

The new Toyota – SoftBank joint venture (JV) will be known as MONET Technologies Corporation (MObility NETwork), and will be launched before the end of the 2018 fiscal year (April 2019). The objective of MONET is to help realize a safer and more comfortable mobility society by combining SoftBank’s telecommunications, internet and data management expertise with Toyota’s automotive technologies and vision of ‘Mobility for All’. The name MONET was chosen to embody the desire of both companies to build a mobility network that provides safer and more comfortable transportation options for everyone.

MONET will provide coordination between Toyota’s Mobility Services Platform (MSPF), which provides the information infrastructure for connected vehicles, and SoftBank’s Internet of Things (IoT) Platform, which was built to create new value from the collection and analysis of data acquired from smartphones and sensor devices. By making use of a wide range of different forms of data related to automotive and human mobility on both platforms, MONET is aiming to optimize supply and demand in transportation and, ultimately, to launch Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) businesses capable of resolving social mobility issues and creating new value.

For the first phase, MONET plans to roll out just-in-time (JIT) vehicle dispatch services for local public agencies and private companies throughout Japan. These services, which will include on-demand transportation through regional partnerships and corporate shuttles, will be provided in tune with user demand. By the second half of the 2020s, MONET plans to roll out Autono-MaaS (autonomous mobility-as-a-service) businesses using e-Palette, Toyota’s dedicated battery-powered electric vehicle for mobility services that can be used for various purposes, including mobility, logistics, and sales.

Unveiled at this year’s CES (Consumer Electronics Show), Toyota’s e-Palette concept vehicle has been developed for automated MaaS applications and is expected to be available in three sizes for multiple transport roles, including passenger transit, taxi services, car/ride-sharing, goods delivery, and as an all-purpose platform. Operated through the IoT and MSPF platforms, the e-Palette’s possible uses within the MONET ecosystem include demand-focused JIT mobility services, such as meal delivery vehicles where food is prepared while on the move, hospital shuttles where onboard medical examinations can be performed, mobile offices, and other new concepts. MONET also intends to roll out these businesses in Japan with an eye to future expansion on the global market.

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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.