Uber raises $1 billion from Toyota, Denso & SoftBank for its self-driving car unit

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Uber‘s newly formed Advanced Technologies Group (Uber ATG), its self-driving ridesharing services has raised $1 billion from Toyota, DENSO and the SoftBank Vision Fund to accelerate the development and commercialisation of its autonomous car unit.

The deal will see Toyota and DENSO invest $667 million together while SVF will invest $333 million, valuing the new Uber ATG entity at $7.25 billion on a post-money basis.

According to Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber, “The development of automated driving technology will transform transportation as we know it, making our streets safer and our cities more livable. Today’s announcement, along with our ongoing OEM and supplier relationships, will help maintain Uber’s position at the forefront of that transformation.”

Toyota invested $500 million in Uber in August 2018, when the two companies announced their intention to bring pilot-scale deployments of automated Toyota Sienna-based ridesharing vehicles to the Uber ridesharing network in 2021, leveraging the strengths of Uber ATG’s self-driving technology alongside the Toyota Guardian™ advanced safety support system.

Today’s further investment and expanded partnership will deepen the companies’ collaboration in designing and developing next-generation autonomous vehicle hardware and prepare them for mass production and commercialization of automated ridesharing vehicles and services.

Toyota will also contribute up to an additional $300 million over the next three years to help cover the costs related to these activities.

Shigeki Tomoyama, Toyota executive vice president and president of Toyota’s in-house Connected Company stated that, “We believe that the combined work of Toyota, DENSO, and Uber ATG on developing next-generation autonomous vehicle hardware will accelerate the timeline for and early success of automated ridesharing services.”

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DENSO, a global automotive supplier, and will collaborate with Uber ATG and Toyota to develop advanced automated driving hardware to transform future mobility.
Toyota Group is an asset to ATG for its vehicle control system technology, mass-production capability, and advanced safety support systems, such as Toyota Guardian™.

Last year, Toyota and SoftBank formed a new JV to facilitate the creation a new AI & autonomous car company. Dubbed MONET or simply “mobility network,” the firm is building a mobility network that provides safer and more comfortable mobility to everyone. MONET provides coordination between Toyota’s Mobility Services Platform, Toyota’s information infrastructure for connected vehicles, and SoftBank’s Internet of Things (IoT) Platform, which was built to create new value from the collection and analysis of data acquired from smartphones and sensor devices. MONET is set to optimize supply and demand in transportation and, ultimately, to launch Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) businesses and roll out just-in-time vehicle dispatch services for local public agencies and private companies throughout Japan.

By the second half of the 2020s, MONET plans to roll out Autono-MaaS (autonomous mobility as a service) businesses using e-Palette, Toyota’s dedicated battery electric vehicle for mobility services that can be used for various purposes, including mobility, logistics, and sales. MONET also intends to roll out these businesses in Japan with an eye to future expansion on the global market. ATG stands to gain from this new partnership.

Rajeev Misra, CEO of the SoftBank Vision Fund said, “The team at Uber ATG has made significant progress developing highly robust automated ridesharing technology. With a comprehensive platform of hardware and software, the largest global ridesharing network and Toyota’s partnership, this collaboration is well-positioned to deploy automated ridesharing services at scale.”

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The transaction is expected to close in Q3 of calendar year 2019. Uber recently filed for an IPO on the NYSE seeking $10b to grow its ride hailing service globally. Uber
also recently announced intentions to acquire Middle East competitor Careem for $3.1 billion to rule the global ride-hailing industry.