Toyota partners with Uber as they venture into driver less cars

Toyota partners with Uber as they venture into driver less cars

Toyota is also a backer of Japan Taxi, an Uber rival run by the chairman of Tokyo's biggest taxi operator.

The testing has been going on for months as auto makers and technology companies compete to be the first with cars that operate on their own.

It's not entirely clear how Toyota stands to gain from this deal, however.

Previously, Uber and Toyota partnered on an electric mobility project. In July, Uber took a step toward relaunching autonomous vehicle testing in Pittsburgh streets. During the International Consumer Electronics Show in January, the two companies announced e-Palette, an autonomous vehicle concept that could be used for everything from pizza delivery to ridesharing. A group of investors had valued Uber at $62 billion earlier this year.

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

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Jeff Miller, Uber's head of business development for strategic initiatives, said the partnership "really paints the picture of how we envision deploying autonomous technology in the long term".

Unveiling their new partnership, Uber and Toyota said they hope to roll out their pilot programme in 2021, leading to the "mass production" of self-driving vehicles using technology from both companies. Toyota Financial Services has been providing incentives to Uber drivers to purchase the company's vehicles.

According to an official statement, the initial "Autono-MaaS" (autonomous-mobility as a service) fleet will be based on the Toyota Sienna. These services include being able to monitor whether a vehicle is being properly maintained or driven too aggressively.

Toyota Motor Corp.is expanding an alliance with Uber Technologies Inc. through a new investment and a plan to get self-driving cars on the road.

Uber has had many such partnerships earlier with Volvo and Daimler AG. And the deal with Toyota becomes a third pillar, where Uber licenses its technology. Uber subsequently withdrew its autonomous cars from the road, laid off hundreds of test drivers and closed its self-driving testing hub in Arizona. Over that time, the company's share price has seen more ups and downs than a typical privately held company.

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