Toyota to invest Rs 3500 crore in Uber for self-driving cars

Toyota to invest Rs 3500 crore in Uber for self-driving cars

eUber's autonomous driving program suffered a major setback earlier this year when one of its prototypes was involved in a fatal accident in Arizona, forcing the company to stop testing its self-driving tech. As part of a pact, Toyota will manufacture Sienna vehicles equipped with Uber's self-driving technology, and another company will operate the fleet, said the person.

Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) will invest $500 million in Uber to jointly work on developing self-driving cars, the companies said on Monday, a bid by both to catch up to rivals in the hotly competitive autonomous driving business.

Uber had suspended its self-driving auto program after a crash that killed a woman pushing a bicycle in a street in Arizona in March of this year. That will have nothing to do with the current Uber deal.

By the time that happens, Uber hopes to have completed an initial public offering of stock that will enrich a list of early investors that now includes Toyota. As a result, it has partnered with "world-class vehicle manufacturers to make our vision a reality".

Their individual efforts to develop driverless cars have proved costly amid a race to the top involving traditional carmakers and tech companies alike.

The investment valued Uber at about $72 billion, WSJ reported. However, this partnership is unique as the vehicles won't be owned or operated by either company.

Traders appeared to welcome the news, pushing Toyota stock up 1.86 percent to 7.096 yen, outperforming the wider market which was 0.64 percent higher. According to the Wall Street Journal, Uber is planning to partner up with established carmaker Toyota to accomplish that goal. SoftBank's founder, Masayoshi Son, has poured as much as $9.5 billion into Didi, led a $9.3 billion investment in Uber and also has stakes in Grab and India's Ola.

Uber has developed a three-pronged self-driving strategy. However, the company says it plans to begin testing self-driving electric cars around 2020. As with traditional rental companies like Avis Budget Group Inc., Toyota is also trying to sell Uber fleet-management services based on the rapidly expanding volume of data it's collecting from connected cars. The self-driving unit is a significant contributor to Uber's losses, which in the second quarter were $891 million.

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