Toyota seems to have plans for a new investment round at Uber. According to the Wall Street Journal website, the car giant is planning to inject $ 500 million into the startup to promote research related to the development of autonomous cars, a contribution that Uber & # 39; s market value will increase to US $ 72 billion, according to the aforementioned place.
This is a significantly larger investment than that of the Japanese Softbank in December last year – whose conditions gave the financial institution the 20% ownership of the shares of the lifter.
If the contribution of Toyota really comes through, this will probably be the opportunity for Uber to resume development of its stand-alone cars. The tests were interrupted for an indefinite period by the company after a fatal accident last March in Tempe, Arizona, USA, when a 49-year-old woman was run over and killed while crossing the street.
Although none of the two companies officially spoke about the potential investment to date, this would not be the first time that Toyota has stimulated Uber's business. In 2016, the Japanese manufacturer started a "strategic collaboration" with the startup with which drivers could buy vehicles via leasing, with a discount on the payment of races generated by the application. The agreement also included a contribution with public liability.
Toyota focused on IA
The possibility of a new capital injection also seems to be in line with Toyota's latest moves regarding autonomous driving technologies. It is important to remember that the company has recently established the Toyota Research Institute, a space dedicated exclusively to researching solutions based on artificial intelligence, mainly focused on two areas: autonomous cars and home robots.
The company also announced plans to build a gigantic 60-acre industrial complex in the state of Michigan; the site must serve "extreme tests" of driving, where atypical scenarios and tests are too risky to be performed on public roads. Finally, the multinational company is also expected to invest US $ 2.8 billion in a new software company, whose job will be to provide complete systems for self-directed vehicles.
Economy on the one hand, proactivity on the other
Moreover, the interest of Uber and Toyota for autonomous technologies can not be more predictable. On the start side there is the obvious interest in saving a considerable amount by eliminating the need for meat and blood drive. Toyota, on the other hand, looks for ways to settle in a shared vehicle scenario – the predictable outcome of which can be a sharp drop in sales, taking into account the current culture of one person, one car & # 39 ;.
Finally, as a more general human interest, different experts point to autonomous vehicles as a solution that can significantly shorten transmission times and save lives by eliminating typically human errors. Besides Toyota, General Motors also drives the chips to the artificial intelligence table. In 2016, the manufacturer made a contribution of $ 500 million to the Lyft shared ride app.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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