We missed this earlier
Toyota Motor put in $500 million in Uber to work on autonomous vehicles to improve safety and lower transport costs, reports WSJ (paywall). Toyota will use Uber’s driving technology in some of its Sienna minivans.
Toyota opened its third facility under the Toyota Research Institute focused on AI, robotics and autonomous vehicle tech in 2016. Earlier this week, 4 Toyota Motor group companies formed a joint venture to develop software for managing brakes, steering and other components for automated driving.
In May 2016, Toyota made an undisclosed amount of investment in Uber to create a vehicle leasing program for Uber’s drivers in the US through Toyota Financial Services.
Uber’s Freight division
In August 2016, Uber launched its self driving cars after has acquired the self-driving driving truck technology company Otto for over $600 million, which it shuttered this month. However, one of Otto’s co-founders after quitting it, is returning to Uber to run Uber Freight. Earlier this month, the company said it would offer Freight to small and mid sized businesses in the US.
Autonomous vehicles have not been free of problems since launch. There has been a death, a fatal crash. Uber and Google’s Waymo reached a settlement over a trade secrets trial. Legislation around automated vehicles begs questions of liability, degree of automation and testing etc.
Also read from 2016: Autonomous cars to be considered as drivers in the US