NAGOYA - Toyota Motor Corp. is considering offering autonomous driving technologies to ride-hailing firms, sources close to the matter said Thursday, in its latest push to become a company offering not only cars but also various mobility services. The automaker is planning to supply a new driverless system to be developed with U.S. ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies Inc. to companies such as Grab Taxi Holdings Pte Ltd. of Singapore and ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd.'s Ola of India, the sources said. Toyota said last month it will jointly invest $1 billion in Uber's new subsidiary to develop autonomous vehicles, together with SoftBank Group Corp. and auto parts supplier Denso Corp. SoftBank Group is the biggest shareholder in Uber and has also invested in Grab and Ola. Toyota is also a stakeholder in Grab, which has a wide range of businesses across Southeast Asia.
Toyota and Volkswagen are the latest automakers to forge alliances with ride-hailing companies, deals that could see the car makers not only sell cars to drivers of the app companies but also develop jointly on-demand mobility technologies. On Wednesday, Toyota said it was making a strategic investment in Uber Technologies as part of a bigger partnership that would include leasing of its cars to Uber drivers. Car purchasers can lease their vehicles from Toyota Financial Services and cover their payments through earnings generated as Uber drivers, the Japanese car giant said in a statement. Toyota said it will also explore collaboration in a variety of other areas, such as developing in-car apps that support Uber drivers, sharing knowledge and accelerating research efforts. Uber already has an autonomous car project, though it isn't clear whether the collaboration between Toyota and Uber will include the development of these types of vehicles.
SHANGHAI - Global automakers are positioning themselves for a brave new world of on-demand transport that will require a car of the future -- hyper-connected, autonomous and shared -- and China may become the concept's laboratory. With ride-hailing services booming and car-sharing not far behind, the need for vehicles tailored to these and other evolving mobility solutions is one of the hottest topics among global automakers gathered for this week's Shanghai Auto Show. Nearly all agree that there is no better proving ground than China: Its gigantic cities are desperate for answers to gridlock and its population is noted for its ready embrace of new high-tech services. To take advantage of this, manufacturers are competing not only to sell conventional and electric vehicles in the world's biggest auto market, but also to develop new technologies and even specific interiors designed for the on-demand world. "We cannot just develop electric cars. They will have to be smart, interconnected and of course shared," Zhao Guoqing, vice president of Chinese auto giant Great Wall Motors, said on the auto show's sidelines.
NAGOYA – Toyota Motor Corp. is considering trials using autonomous vehicles to transport residents and deliver food in central Japan by the late 2020s as it focuses on new mobility services using self-driving technology, company sources said Friday. Toyota will likely carry out the trial on the approximately 260,000-square meter premises of a plant in Susono, Shizuoka Prefecture, that its subsidiary Toyota Motor East Japan Inc. will close by the end of 2020, they said. In the envisioned urban development on the lot, the auto giant, which also has a housing arm, is weighing collaboration with information technology companies to offer homes with electrical appliances that can be controlled through its internet-connected vehicle, they said. Toyota said it has not made a final decision about how the plant premises will be used but that it is "considering ways to grow and develop with the local community through the implementation of our mobility business." Toyota has been stepping up efforts to develop autonomous cars that can offer various services such as ride-hailing and package delivery, as the auto industry faces a dramatic shift in demand from owning cars to sharing them.
Carmakers Toyota and Volkswagen have struck separate partnerships with rideshare companies Uber and Gett. The Japanese company will invest an unspecified amount in Uber and offer new leasing options for its drivers. Toyota said the two companies would share also knowledge and speed up their research efforts in areas such as driverless cars. Volkswagen announced an investment in Gett, an Israel-based rideshare operator. Toyota said that as patterns of car usage continued to change, it wanted the collaboration to be about more than simply providing vehicles but to also collaborate on technology such as in-car apps.