Toyota said a new venture would be investing more than $2.8 billion to develop automated-driving software - the latest salvo in an increasingly frenetic battle to be ahead in a sector hit by a slew of disruptive technologies.
The Tokyo-based venture, which will bring together some 1,000 employees including new hires, will be 90 per cent held by Toyota with group suppliers Denso and Aisin Seiki each taking 5 per cent.
“This company’s mission is to accelerate software development in a more effective and disruptive way, by augmenting the Toyota Group’s capability through the hiring of world-class software engineers,” James Kuffner, who will lead the venture, said in a statement.
The establishment of the new venture, Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development, comes as firms such as Alphabet’s Waymo and Tesla give traditional automakers a run for their money in building self-driving and electric cars.
English is set to be the main business language of the new venture, the statement said.
Toyota is also investing $1 billion in artificial intelligence and other technologies through its US-based Toyota Research Institute and has struck up technology partnerships with Microsoft and Uber.
Last month, Toyota Research Institute’s venture capital unit said it was co-leading an $11.5-million seed investment in May Mobility, an Ann Arbor-based startup that is developing self-driving shuttles for college campuses, central business districts, and similar low-speed applications.