Uber, Toyota sign $500M deal to put self-driving tech into Sienna minivans
On Monday, news emerged that Toyota has reportedly signed a $500 million deal with Uber regarding self-driving technology. The Japanese automaker will integrate Uber’s autonomous driving technology into some of its Sienna minivans, which—if all goes well—will enter service at some future date as ride-hailing vehicles accessed through Uber’s platform. This deal follows a $300 million investment in Uber by Toyota in 2016.
Toyota is one of three OEMs linked with Uber. In August 2016, Uber signed a $300 million deal with Volvo to develop self-driving vehicles and announced plans in late 2017 to buy 24,000 XC90 SUVs from the Swedish company. And in January 2017, Daimler (which owns Mercedes-Benz) revealed that it plans to eventually use Uber’s network to offer rides in autonomous vehicles that it is developing.
Toyota’s progress in autonomous-vehicle technology has been lagging behind many other such programs. The consulting firm Navigant Research ranked it 12th out of 19 such efforts at the beginning of the year, far behind GM and Waymo. This is despite a hefty patent portfolio and a $1 billion investment in Jaybridge Robotics in 2016.