SAN FRANCISCO/TOKYO: Toyota will pump about $500 million into Uber as part of a deal to work together on mass-producing self-driving vehicles, the Japanese car giant said on Tuesday.
The deal, which reportedly values Uber at about $72 billion, aims at "advancing and bringing to market autonomous ride-sharing as a mobility service at scale," Toyota said in a statement.
Technology from both companies will be integrated into purpose-built Toyota vehicles and deployed on Uber's ride-sharing platform, with the first pilot rollout set for 2021.
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"The deal is the first of its kind for Uber and signals our commitment to bringing world-class technologies to the Uber network," said CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.
The agreement came as the smartphone-summoned ride service is throttling back its solo effort to develop autonomous vehicle technology.
Uber suspended its self-driving car program after a crash killed a woman pushing a bicycle in a street in Arizona in March.
Last month, the San-Francisco-based firm took a tentative step toward restarting the program, putting self-driving cars back on the road in "manual mode," with a driver at the wheel at all times.
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The testing will enable Uber to gather data on different scenarios that will be recreated in computer simulations, and also develop more accurate mapping for the vehicles.
Uber is among a number of technology and car companies racing toward what some say is an inevitable future in which vehicles drive themselves.
The statement said the "mass-produced autonomous vehicles" would be owned and operated by "mutually agreed-upon third-party autonomous fleet operators."
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