Toyota Sinks $500 Million Into Uber To Develop Self-Driving Minivans

Toyota Invests In Uber

Toyota is investing $500 million bucks in Uber in its quest to speed up self-driving vehicle development.  The two companies plan to share autonomous technology and create a fleet of retrofitted self-driving Toyota Sienna minivans. The announcement comes five months after one of Uber’s self-driving cars hit and killed a pedestrian on a dark street in Arizona.

Toyota and Uber Team Up

The plan is to develop an “Autono-MaaS” fleet of a few hundred minivans that will roll out in a pilot program in 2021. The minivans will integrate Uber’s Autonomous Driving System along with the Toyota Guardian automated safety support system. Toyota will also utilize its connected vehicle Mobility Services Platform.

Toyota Sienna Minivan

Credit: Toyota

The hitch is that the day to day operation of them won’t be Toyota or Uber. Instead, a third party company will own and operate the vehicles.

“Combining efforts with Uber, one of the predominant global ridesharing and automated driving R&D companies, could further advance future mobility,” said Shigeki Tomoyama, executive vice president, Toyota, and president, Toyota Connected Company.

Toyota Invests In Uber

Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and Shigeki Tomoyama, executive vice president, TMC, and president, Toyota Connected Company, shake hands. Credit: Toyota/Rikki Ward Photography

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

Photo Credit:  Toyota

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