Toyota & Uber Mulling Self-Driving Vehicle Partnership

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Toyota and Uber are currently in talks concerning the potential installation of Uber’s self-driving vehicle systems in Toyota cars, according to the Nikkei. The talks represent one of the first attempts (openly reported on anyway) by Uber to sell its self-driving vehicle tech to third-parties.

It’s notable, though, that the sources responsible for the news item remain unnamed — so who knows exactly how accurate the news is, or what the motive for the leak is.

The talks are reportedly concerning the possible installation of Uber’s tech in one of Toyota’s minivan models. It’s also reportedly the case that Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has now met with Toyota execs in the US in relation to the talks.

Replying to a query from Reuters, a spokesperson for Toyota stated: “We regularly exchange information about automated driving with Uber for some time now.”

The coverage from Reuters continues:

“Toyota, which is developing its own automated driving functions, has said it is open to collaborating with other firms to quickly bring new mobility technologies to market. It already has partnerships with Uber on ride-hailing and development of self-driving systems.

“As it battles with Alphabet Inc’s Waymo to develop self-driving car services, Uber has been testing autonomous vehicles in the United States, and has been working with Volvo Cars and Daimler AG on driverless cars.

“In January, the Japanese automaker said it was working with Uber to develop a system of self-driving vehicles for tasks including ride hailing and parcel delivery. Toyota is an investor in Uber, and offers flexible vehicle leasing terms for Uber drivers. It has declined to comment on its size of its stake in the company.”

Given that reality, it does seem fairly likely that involvement between the two firms will increase over the coming years — and also that Toyota’s plans in the self-driving sector rely on Uber to some degree or other (even if only possibly as a backup to its own program).

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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