The Guardian technology developed by Toyota will now be deployed for the benefit of Uber’s self-driven cab project in Arizona.

Ubers push into self-driving cars gets boost Toyota to invest USD 500 million
Atom Autonomous Cars Tuesday, August 28, 2018 - 19:24

Uber’s plans to relaunch its autonomous cabs received a boost with Japanese automotive major Toyota making an investment in it of $500 million. It may be recalled that Uber had to shut down its self-driven cars project in Arizona following an accident with one of its self-driven cars hitting a pedestrian and killing her. That experiment is still hurting the company’s financial results, carrying a loss of $891 million.

The new agreement with Toyota could set that situation right if it takes off in the right direction. The fact remains that Toyota itself is being seen as a bit lagging in the progress made on the development of autonomous technology though it has a research division dedicated to it. The Guardian technology developed by Toyota will now be deployed for the benefit of Uber’s self-driven cab project in Arizona; Uber will bring to the table its own work and the combination will be seen in action. 

Toyota expects to develop its Sienna minivans with this fusion of technologies and Uber will run them and the scheduled launch is by 2021.

Moreover, Uber may go in for an outsourced agency to invest in the vehicles and run them on contract with it. Uber is yet to identify the agency to do this.

Toyota has clarified that its Guardian technology is not a 100% autonomous vehicle technology and its research to launch a completely self-driven vehicle is going on and it has set itself a target of launching the vehicles commercially by 2020. That will have nothing to do with the current Uber deal.

Meanwhile Uber will try and resume its testing activity in Arizona provided it is able to convince the politicians and regulatory authorities who have held back the clearances following the accident. It is possible that this service may start by the end of this calendar year.   

Uber has had many such partnerships earlier with Volvo and Daimler AG. A separate agreement was also entered into, with Google for the Waymo technology. Incidentally, Uber was valued at the time of the Google investment at $72 billion and the same has been retained for the Toyota investment now as well. Toyota has also had a partnership earlier with Uber.

Partnerships like these, with clearly defined roles for the different partners is being seen as the way forward instead of taking on all tasks on board and struggling with the nitty-gritties.

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