Toyota and Uber expand collaboration to develop autonomous MaaS rideshare fleet


Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) and Uber Technologies Inc. have announced that they will expand their collaboration with the aim of advancing and bringing to market autonomous ride-sharing as a mobility service at scale.

To accomplish this large-scale autonomous mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) rideshare system, technology from each company will be integrated into purpose-built Toyota vehicles to be deployed on Uber’s ride-sharing network. In a separate agreement, Toyota is investing US$500m in Uber. As Uber and Toyota look ahead to a self-driving future, this partnership will be critical in realizing automated mobility technology at scale. The two companies anticipate that the mass-produced self-driving vehicles will be owned and operated by mutually agreed upon third party autonomous fleet operators.

The initial ‘Autono-MaaS’ (autonomous-mobility as a service) fleet will be based on Toyota’s Sienna Minivan platform. Developed by its Advanced Technologies Group (ATG), Uber’s Autonomous Driving System and the Toyota Guardian automated safety support system will both be integrated into the Autono-MaaS vehicles. Toyota will also make use of its Mobility Services Platform (MSPF), which is the company’s core information infrastructure for connected vehicles. The partners say that pilot-scale deployments will begin on the Uber ride-sharing network in 2021.

“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 at 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.”

Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s CEO, noted, “The deal is the first of its kind for us, and signals our commitment to bringing world-class technologies to our 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. Our advanced technology and Toyota’s commitment to safety and its renowned manufacturing prowess make this partnership a natural fit. I look forward to seeing what our teams accomplish together.”

Dr Gill Pratt, CEO of the Toyota Research Institute and TMC Fellow, commented, “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. We look forward to this partnership accelerating both companies’ development and deployment of automated driving technology.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).