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Toyota to invest $500m in Uber

Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber's CEO, and Shigeki Tomoyama, executive vice president at Toyota, and president, Toyota Connected Company.

Toyota is expanding its partnership with Uber to jointly develop self-driving vehicles, while also investing $500 million (£387m) in the ride-hailing firm.

The manufacturer says that technology from each company will be integrated into purpose-built Toyota vehicles to be deployed on Uber's ride-sharing network.

The fleet will be based on Toyota's Sienna Minivan model with pilot trials beginning 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 Toyota, 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 and Toyota anticipate that the mass-produced autonomous vehicles will be owned and operated by third-party autonomous fleet operators.

"The deal is the first of its kind for Uber, and signals our commitment to bringing world-class technologies to the Uber network," said Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber's CEO.

"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. Uber's 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."

The deal with Toyota comes after Uber scaled back its self-driving trials after a fatal crash in Tempe, Arizona, in March, when a self-driving Uber SUV killed a pedestrian.

Since then, the ride-hailing giant has removed its autonomous cars from the road and closed its Arizona operations.

Dr Gill Pratt, Toyota Research Institute CEO, said: "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."

Toyota's investment in Uber and the proposed collaboration are subject to standard regulatory approvals.

Photo caption: Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber's CEO, and Shigeki Tomoyama, executive vice president at Toyota, and president, Toyota Connected Company.   


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