Toyota Acquisition of Lyft’s Autonomous Drive Unit Boosts Automation Ambitions
AUSTIN – Toyota will acquire Lyft’s autonomous driving technology unit for $ 550 million, the companies said, as the Japanese automaker ramps up automation ambitions with the new Woven Planet division.
Woven Planet, which Toyota set up in January to develop technologies for driving connected, autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles, will take over all of the more than 300 employees of Lyft’s so-called Level 5 division.
The acquisition will give Toyota access to the mostly full range technology from the American ridesharing firm.
“This is the first step in establishing and bringing people together. Obviously, building technologies and products requires people, and that is a big part of the purpose of this acquisition,” said Tuesday. CEO of Woven Planet, James Kuffner.
It will also give Toyota a direct presence in Silicon Valley and London and expand the “Woven City” smart city project at the foot of Mount Fuji in Japan, effectively helping it to navigate the dramatic changes expected in the automotive industry. mobility and major centers, he said.
For Lyft, the deal will allow it to become profitable sooner and remove the burden and risk of developing expensive technology that has yet to enter the mainstream.
Kuffner said Woven Planet intends to continue investing and growing the team, although he has refrained from commenting on any future acquisition timelines or plans.
Takaki Nakanishi, auto industry analyst and managing director of the Nakanishi Research Institute, said that by expanding its partnerships, Toyota is “taking a step towards achieving its goals,” including autonomous driving technology.
Toyota, which currently offers Level 2 automation with advanced driver assistance technology, has other autonomous driving projects and works closely with transport companies.
It owns a stake in the leading Chinese car transport company Didi Chuxing and Grab in Southeast Asia and also had a stake in the autonomous driving unit of Lyft’s biggest rival, Uber Technology Inc, but transferred the participation when Uber sold the unit in December to an auto startup. Dawn.
Toyota announced in February that it would develop and build self-driving minivans for ridesharing networks with Aurora and its longtime supplier partner Denso.
From Lyft the sale allows it to offload its secondary activities and focus on relaunching its main divisions after a year of deadly pandemic. It will receive $ 200 million initially, with the remaining $ 350 million paid over five years.