The possibility of autonomous ridesharing is getting a continued boost as Uber and Toyota are expanding their collaboration.
An announcement from Toyota said, “technology from each company will be integrated into purpose-built Toyota vehicles to be deployed on Uber’s ride-sharing network” with the goal of advancing future mobility.
The Japanese automaker is also investing an additional $500 million in the ridesharing 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,” said Shigeki Tomoyama, executive vice president at Toyota and president of Toyota Connected Company.
Both companies believe the partnership is critical for scalable autonomous technology. Uber and Toyota believe that mass-produced self-driving vehicles will be owned and operated by third party autonomous fleet operators.
Pilot-scale deployments of autonomous-mobility as a service based on Toyota’s Sienna minivan platform will begin in 2021 on Uber’s network.
“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,” said Dr. Gill Pratt, Toyota Research Institute CEO.
“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.”