Toyota Invests $500 Million in Deal with Uber to Develop Self-Driving Cars

Uber's self-driving car

Uber's self-driving car

On Monday, the "Wall Street Journal" reported that the Japanese automotive manufacturing giant Toyota has invested $500 million into the ridesharing transportation company Uber to expand its self-driving car program.

"Since 2015, we’ve been working to bring safe, reliable self-driving technology to the Uber network. We knew we couldn’t do it alone, which is why we continue to partner with world-class vehicle manufacturers to make our vision a reality," said Eric Meyhofer, head of Uber’s self-driving unit in a statement. "Today, we’re taking our relationship with Toyota Motor Corporation to new heights—and while this isn’t our first automotive partnership, we’re taking a new approach. As part of this partnership, we’ll supply our proprietary self-driving system to Toyota Sienna Minivans."

Uber has been at the forefront of developing this technology, but in March, the self-driving program was suspended after a woman who was crossing the street in Tempe, Arizona was hit and killed by a self-driving Uber vehicle.

“Some incredibly sad news out of Arizona. We’re thinking of the victim’s family as we work with local law enforcement to understand what happened,” tweeted Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s CEO. 

It was the first fatality to occur from a self-driving car. After the accident, Uber announced that it was suspending its autonomous vehicle program in the North America area. 

But it appears as though Uber's program is being revived with massive funding from Toyota. 

Toyota, which is the world's largest car manufacturer and sixth-largest company by revenue, has invested previously in the ridesharing technology company. 

"Back in 2016, the Japanese automaker announced it was forming a “strategic partnership” with the San Francisco-based company, in which Uber drivers can lease their vehicles from Toyota and cover their payments through earnings generated as Uber drivers. The deal also included an investment of an undisclosed amount," writes "The Verge." 

Like Uber, Toyota has aggressive plans to develop autonomous cars. To test this technology, the automaker is building a 60-acre facility to use these vehicles in a safe place.

Read more about Uber and Toyota's recent partnership at "The Verge."