Japanese auto major, Toyota, and American ride aggregator, Uber, have announced that they will expand their existing tie-up to jointly develop self-driving cars. As part of the deal, the Japanese automaker is set to invest $500 million (around Rs. 3,500 crore) in the US tech firm in a deal that values the latter at a whopping $72 billion.

Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s CEO, and Shigeki Tomoyama, executive vice president, TMC, and president, Toyota Connected Company shake hands on the agreement to collaborate with the aim of advancing and bringing to market autonomous ride-sharing as a mobility service at scale. (PRNewsfoto/Toyota Motor North America)

According to a joint press release issued by the two companies, self-driving technology from each – Uber’s Autonomous Driving System and Toyota’s ‘Guardian’ automated safety support system – will be integrated into purpose-built Toyota Sienna Minivans that will be part of the so-called “Autono-MaaS” (autonomous-mobility as a service) fleet expected to be rolled out by the two companies.

In a press statement, Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s CEO, expressed his satisfaction at the deal, saying that it will help the company deploy the safest autonomous cars in the world. According to him, “The deal is the first of its kind for Uber, and signals our commitment to bringing world-class technologies to the Uber network”.

Our goal is to deploy the world’s safest self-driving cars on the Uber network, and this agreement is another significant step towards making that a reality. Uber’s advanced technology and Toyota’s commitment to safety and its renowned manufacturing prowess make this partnership a natural fit. I look forward to seeing what our teams accomplish together.

Shigeki Tomoyama, the executive vice president of Toyota Motor Corporation and president, Toyota Connected Company, also echoed the sentiments, saying, “This agreement and investment marks an important milestone in our transformation to a mobility company as we help provide a path for safe and secure expansion of mobility services like ride-sharing that includes Toyota vehicles and technologies”.