Toyota Invests $500 Million in Uber to Bring Self-Driving Minivans to the Road
Toyota Motor Corp. has joined Uber Technologies Inc. in a plan to bring self-driving cars to the road. According to reports by Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal, Toyota will be investing about $500 million in a funding round that values Uber at roughly $72 billion.
The reports indicate that Toyota is set to manufacture Sienna minivans equipped with Uber’s self-driving technology, while an undisclosed third company will operate the fleet.
Uber’s share prices have been experiencing fluctuations, which are atypical for a privately held company but come as a response to a slew of corporate scandals and the recent death of a pedestrian who was struck by an Uber self-driving vehicle.
A group of investors valued Uber at $62 billion earlier this year, which denotes a 15% increase in paper valuation following the deal with Toyota.
Toyota has continued to align with Uber since its initial investment in 2016 and currently incentivizes drivers to purchase the company’s manufactured vehicles. Alongside promoting their cars, Toyota has been attempting to sell a service that allows drivers to utilize fleet-management services that are based on the evolving volume of data collected from connected cars, which monitor whether or not drivers properly maintain driving quality.
Uber is currently in the process of developing various self-driving strategies and public road tests to promote safe performance. When approached by Bloomberg, spokespeople for Toyota and Uber declined to comment on the supposed investment.