Toyota, Denso, SoftBank investing $1B in Uber’s self-driving unit
(From left) Denso Executive Vice President Hiroyuki Wakabayashi, Uber Advanced Technologies Group Head Eric Meyhofer, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, Toyota Executive Vice President and President of Toyota’s in-house Connected Company Shigeki Tomoyama, and SoftBank Vision Fund Managing Partner Ervin Tu sign a partnership agreement to invest in Uber's self-driving car unit.
Courtesy of Toyota

Toyota, Denso, SoftBank investing $1B in Uber’s self-driving unit

Creating Uber Technologies Advanced Technologies Group could speed development of robotaxi vehicles.

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San Francisco, California – Toyota Motor Corp., Denso Corp., and the SoftBank Vision Fund will invest $1 billion in Uber Technologies Inc.’s Advanced Technologies Group (Uber ATG). The investment, in a newly formed ATG corporate entity, aims to accelerate the development and commercialization of automated ridesharing services.

Toyota and Denso will invest $667 million and SVF will invest $333 million, valuing the new Uber ATG entity at $7.25 billion.

Toyota invested $500 million in Uber in August 2018, when the two companies announced their intention to bring pilot-scale deployments of automated Toyota Sienna-based ridesharing vehicles to the Uber ridesharing network in 2021, leveraging the strengths of Uber ATG’s self-driving technology alongside the Toyota Guardian advanced safety support system.

Further investment and the expanded partnership builds upon the progress made to date, deepening the companies’ collaboration in designing and developing next-generation autonomous vehicle hardware. It will also prepare the companies and industry for mass production and commercialization of automated ridesharing vehicles and services. Toyota will also contribute up to an additional $300 million over the next three years to help cover the costs related to these activities.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said, “The development of automated driving technology will transform transportation as we know it, making our streets safer and our cities more livable.”

Toyota Executive Vice President and President of Toyota’s in-house Connected Company Shigeki Tomoyama added, “Leveraging the strengths of Uber ATG’s autonomous vehicle technology and service network and the Toyota Group’s vehicle control system technology, mass-production capability, and advanced safety support systems, such as Toyota Guardian, will enable us to commercialize safer, lower cost automated ridesharing vehicles and services.”

Denso Executive Vice President Hiroyuki Wakabayashi said, “Among the biggest challenges facing automated driving, most lie in how to implement both the hardware and the software at scale.”

The transaction is expected to close in Q3 of calendar year 2019.