Toyota will invest $500 million in Uber to jointly work on developing self-driving cars, a source familiar with the matter said on Monday, a bid by both companies to catch up to rivals in the hotly competitive autonomous driving businesses.
Toyota, one of the world’s largest carmakers and Uber, the leading rideshare service, are widely seen as lagging the competition in developing self-driving cars, reports Reuters.
The partnership deepens an existing relationship between Uber and Toyota, and reflects Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s strategy of developing autonomous vehicles through partnerships.
It also breathes some life back into Uber’s self-driving business unit that has dramatically retrenched since a fatal crash in Tempe, Arizona, in March, when a self-driving Uber SUV killed a pedestrian. Since that accident, Uber removed its self-driving cars from the road and shuttered its operations in Arizona, its autonomous testing hub.
The investment values Uber at $72 billion, which matches the valuation Uber received in a deal with Alphabet self-driving unit Waymo earlier this year.
Uber will combine its autonomous driving system with Toyota’s Guardian system, an automated system that offers some safety features but does not allow a vehicle to drive completely autonomously, the source said. The technology will be built into Toyota vehicles, which will be deployed on Uber’s ride-hailing network, the source said.
Toyota was not immediately available for comment. Uber declined to comment.