Toyota announced on Monday that it is investing $500 million in Uber and working more closely with the company to accelerate the development and deployment of self-driving vehicles.
Uber plans to retrofit Toyota Sienna minivans with its autonomous technology and begin real-world testing in 2021. The deal gives Toyota a key partner in a field that is growing rapidly, and comes on the same day that four of the automaker's suppliers announced a partnership to develop some of the software underpinning autonomous vehicles.
Other tech and auto companies have forged similar arrangements. Waymo, for example, buys vehicles from Chrysler and Jaguar Land Rover.
As it leads the world in ride-sharing services, Uber could create a ready market for Toyota self-driving cars through its app, which is used by millions of people.
This is not Toyota's first move into the autonomous vehicle realm. In 2015, it said it would invest $1 billion in the Toyota Research Institute artificial intelligence lab. Institute CEO Gill Pratt said in a statement Monday that the Uber partnership would accelerate efforts to deliver autonomous technology.
Source: CNN Money