Japanese car giant Toyota and investment fund Softbank Vision Fund on Friday unveiled an investment of $1 billion in US company Uber to drive forward the development of driverless ridesharing services.
The investment, which also involves parts maker DENSO, will go to Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group in a bid to “accelerate the development and commercialization of automated ridesharing services,” the firms said in a statement.
Toyota and DENSO are stumping up $667 million and Softbank Vision Fund, the investment arm of Japanese tycoon Masayoshi Son’s Softbank, will pour $333 million into the venture.
Toyota had already invested $500 million in Uber as the firm races Google-owned Waymo and a host of other companies, including major automakers, to develop self-driving vehicles.
Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s chief executive, said driverless cars would “transform transportation as we know it, making our streets safer and our cities more liveable.”
Uber is aiming to go beyond car rides to becoming the “Amazon of transportation” in a future where people share, instead of own, vehicles.
If all goes to plan, commuters could ride an e-scooter to a transit station, take a train, then grab an e-bike, share a ride or take an e-scooter at the arriving station to complete a journey -- all using an Uber app on a smartphone.
Uber is also seeing growing success with an “Eats” service that lets drivers make money delivering meals ordered from restaurants.