Toyota has just announced major partnerships with Uber, Uber’s Chinese rival Didi, Amazon and Pizza Hut for a plan to create an all-electric, driverless shuttle. The autonomous service will be used for commercial purposes.
Working with Toyota on such ambitious project will give Uber and the likes significant opportunity to expand their businesses. Uber could also boost its own self-driving technologies with the know-how acquired thanks to the deal.
In May 2016, Toyota poured big money into the U.S.-based ride-hailing service. However, Uber has other driverless partners like Daimler and Volvo. It is the first time, though, that Uber gets caught in a shuttle business.
Uber will purchase 24,000 cars from Volvo which will be equipped with the taxi-app firm’s driverless technology and software. Daimler agreed to beef up Uber’s infrastructure under their deal.
The Toyota-Uber Deal
Under the partnership between Toyota and Uber, Uber will equip the shuttles with its driverless technology and act as a platform for Toyota’s cars. It is unclear who will be the ultimate owner of the vehicles.
An Uber spokesperson said it is a better idea to use the company’s driverless technology instead of Toyota’s because it will make the two companies more aware on how fast the things are going with software implementation. In Daimler’s case, the automaker used its own self-driving tech.
Uber is expected to have some control over the fleet of shuttles, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. It is the first time though that a car maker agrees to give somebody else the flexibility to change in-car experience. Many automakers are concerned that they would end up being just metal benders for Silicon Valley.
Uber certainly does not see [Toyota] as a metal bender,
Uber’s chief of business development Jeff Miller told Recode.
Image Source: Wikimedia