Toyota Motor Corp will invest $500 million in Uber to jointly work on developing self-driving cars, the companies said on Monday, a bid by both to catch up to rivals in the hotly competitive autonomous driving business.
Toyota, one of the world’s largest carmakers, and Uber Technologies Inc, the leading ride-hailing service, are widely seen as lagging the competition in developing self-driving cars. The partnership deepens an existing relationship and reflects Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi’s strategy of Uber developing autonomous vehicles through partnerships, rather than on its own.
The deal also breathes new life into Uber’s self-driving business. Since a self-driving Uber SUV killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona, in March, Uber has removed its robot cars from the road, laid off hundreds of test drivers and shuttered operations in Arizona, its autonomous testing hub.
The investment values Uber at $72 billion, matching the valuation Uber received in a deal with Alphabet Inc self-driving unit Waymo this year.
Uber will combine its autonomous driving system with Toyota’s Guardian technology, which offers automated safety features such as lane-keeping but does not enable a vehicle to drive completely autonomously. The combined technology will be built into Toyota’s Sienna minivans, to be deployed on Uber’s ride-hailing network starting in 2021, Uber said.