SoftBank is stepping up investment in mobility companies across the globe such as ride-sharing operators Uber Technologies Inc., Didi Chuxing Technology Co. of China, Ola of India and Grab Taxi Holdings Pte Ltd. of Singapore. Softbank has also said it will invest $2.25 billion in General Motors Co.’s Cruise autonomous vehicle unit.
Toyota, meanwhile, is also investing in ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Grab to collect driver data and adapt to global growth in app-based mobility services as demand shifts from owning to sharing cars.
“It is indispensable to ally with other companies…In such circumstances, the tie-up with SoftBank holds an important key,” Toyoda said. “The time has come when automakers cannot make self-driving vehicles alone.”
Toyota and SoftBank plan to roll out the autonomous vehicle service using e-Palette, Toyota’s box-shaped, battery-powered vehicle with no driver seat, which the automaker unveiled in January at the International Consumer Electronics Show.