Toyota subsidiary buys Lyft’s Level 5 self-driving division for US$550m

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Woven Planet, a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation, has agreed to acquire Level 5, the self-driving division of Lyft, one of the largest ride-hailing companies in the world. This marks the first major deal for the newly established Woven Planet.

The deal will bring together world-class scientists and software engineers from Level 5, Woven Planet, and researchers from Toyota Research Institute (TRI) already working together with Woven Planet. The resulting combined ‘dream team’ of approximately 1,200 will represent one of the most diverse, well-resourced and talented groups in this field.

Today’s announcement places Woven Planet at the center of the connected and automated driving movement by providing, talent, technology and an international footprint. Once the acquisition is complete, Woven Planet will have an expanded footprint beyond its Tokyo headquarters, with offices and engineering teams in Palo Alto, CA and London, UK.

In addition to the acquisition of Level 5, Woven Planet and Lyft have signed commercial agreements for utilization of the Lyft system and fleet data to accelerate the safety and commercialization of the automated-driving technology that Woven Planet will develop.

Lyft will receive approximately US$550 million in cash, with US$200 million paid upfront subject to certain closing adjustments and US$350 million of payments over a five-year period.

As a result of this transaction, Woven Planet will accelerate revolutionizing the world of mobility and realize its mission of “Mobility to Love, Safety to Live,” fueling a broader vision of human happiness and well-being on the planet Earth.

“This acquisition advances our mission to develop the safest mobility in the world at scale,” says  James Kuffner, CEO of Woven Planet. “This deal will be key in weaving together the people, resources, and infrastructure that will help us to transform the world we live in through mobility technologies that can bring about a happier, safer future for us all.”

“This announcement launches Lyft into the next phase of an incredible journey to bring our mission to life,” says Logan Green, CEO of Lyft “We have spent nine years building a transportation network that is uniquely capable of scaling autonomous vehicles. This deal brings together the vision, talent, resources and commitment to advance clean, autonomous mobility on a global scale.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs in charge of public agencies around the world as well as chairmen and CEOs of multinational transportation technology corporations. Tom's early 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).