It was reported yesterday that Toyota might decide to invest $500 million in Uber for self-driving cars. The report wasn’t immediately confirmed by either company but it has now been formally revealed that Toyota is indeed investing $500 million in the ride-hailing service that has long been working on self-driving cars.
Both companies have confirmed this $500 million investment from the Japanese auto giant. Toyota and Uber already have an existing relationship in this space and this deal will only deepen that relationship. It also showcases Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s strategy of having the company develop self-driving cars through partnerships instead of entirely on its own.
The investment may also throw a lifeline to Uber’s self-driving car business which went through a rough patch a few months ago after one of its self-driving cars was involved in an accident that resulted in a pedestrian’s death in Arizona. Uber grounded its entire fleet first and has since put its self-driving cars back on roads but only in manual mode.
As part of this deal, Uber will be combining its self-driving system with Toyota’s Guardian technology which offers automated safety features such as lane-keeping but is far from an autonomous driving system.
Toyota’s executive vice president Shigeki Tomoyama said in a statement that 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.”