Uber, Toyota signal $500M deal to place self-driving tech into Sienna minivans

On Monday, information emerged that Toyota has reportedly signed a $500 million take care of Uber relating to self-driving know-how. The Japanese automaker will combine Uber’s autonomous driving know-how into a few of its Sienna minivans, which—if all goes nicely—will enter service at some future date as ride-hailing automobiles accessed by way of Uber’s platform. This deal follows a $300 million funding in Uber by Toyota in 2016.

Toyota is one in all three OEMs linked with Uber. In August 2016, Uber signed a $300 million take care of Volvo to develop self-driving automobiles and introduced plans in late 2017 to purchase 24,000 XC90 SUVs from the Swedish firm. And in January 2017, Daimler (which owns Mercedes-Benz) revealed that it plans to ultimately use Uber’s community to supply rides in autonomous automobiles that it’s growing.

Toyota’s progress in autonomous-vehicle know-how has been lagging behind many different such packages. The consulting agency Navigant Research ranked it 12th out of 19 such efforts in the beginning of the 12 months, far behind GM and Waymo. This is regardless of a hefty patent portfolio and a $1 billion funding in Jaybridge Robotics in 2016.

Toyota’s involvement is definitely a vote of confidence in Uber, which has been beset by troubles of late. Uber’s autonomous automobile division has been struggling to search out its manner since March 2018 when an Arizona lady was struck and killed by one of many firm’s self-driving R&D automobiles. Following that demise, the corporate suspended its autonomous car testing in Arizona, and, extra lately, it has scaled again the extent of its testing program in Pittsburgh in addition to selecting to not renew its allow to check in California. (Toyota additionally suspended its testing packages in Michigan and California following the Uber fatality.)

On high of that, Uber settled a commerce secrets and techniques lawsuit with Waymo in February 2018 over knowledge that had been allegedly stolen by a former Waymo engineer who then took it to an organization that was shortly acquired by Uber. That lawsuit ended with Uber giving Waymo a 0.34 % fairness share of Uber, price greater than $244 million.

Uber didn’t instantly reply to Ars’ request for remark.

UPDATE 7:07pm ET: Sarah Abboud, an Uber spokeswoman, emailed:

I can affirm that Toyota’s funding was a part of our Series G-1 most well-liked, with a valuation of $72B.  More on our announcement within the press launch, which you could find right here with supporting visuals. Also sharing our newsroom submit and extra background under:

While this isn’t our first automotive partnership, it is a new strategy for us. We now have three completely different fashions:
(1) Volvo: we buy automobiles, upfit them with our self-driving tech, and immediately function them on our community;
(2) Daimler: they personal, develop and function their self-driving automobiles on our community; and
(3) Toyota: automobiles owned and operated by mutually agreed upon third get together. Vehicles will likely be deployed to the Uber community. We’ll provide our self-driving techniques to energy the Toyota Siennas.

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