Japanese auto giant Toyota is set to invest half a billion dollars in Uber. Both companies want to catch up to rivals, winning the race towards self-driving vehicles. They said on Monday they're planning to work together by putting self-driving tech from each company into Toyota cars. Under the deal, they aim to mass produce these cars to be deployable on Uber's network.
Toyota's mostly focused on partly autonomous driving, until now. However, if they want to move towards true self driving, Reuters' Nori Shirouzu says this deal may be a step in that direction. It's a competitive move by Toyota. This follows GM's investment in cruise automation in San Francisco and SoftBank's additional investment in that company.
So it's pretty competitive out there. And Toyota is actually keeping up with competition. Autonomous drive is basically a advanced version of what auto industry already has, which is basically active safety features. Active safety technology, such as lane keeping and auto-breaking, things like that. So that's what Toyota brings to joint effort.
That has to be combined with active safety features. So this is actually a pretty good combination.>> It may also have help revive Uber's driverless business, which was scaled back after a self-driving SUV killed a pedestrian this year in Arizona. It's taken its robot cars off the road since then and shuttered operations in its Arizona testing hub.
And the company's admitted its technology lags behind systems designed by Waymo being developed by Google's parent company Alphabet. Under Monday's deal, Toyata and Uber's new technology would be built into Sienna minivans and deployed on the ride hailing network around 2021.