Autonomous Vehicles

Mazda and Subaru hop on Toyota's self-driving joint venture with SoftBank

Other Japanese automakers decided to get in on the fun, too.

Monet Technologies' first autonomous mobility contraption will likely be based on Toyota wild e-Palette concept. 

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

Last October, Toyota and SoftBank announced the creation of a joint venture called Monet Technologies, which seeks to mix big data and self-driving cars in an effort to create a whole little mobility ecosystem. Now Monet's ranks are expanding in a big way.

Five other Japanese automakers are hopping into Monet Technologies with Toyota and SoftBank, Reuters reports. The group comprises Daihatsu, Isuzu, Mazda, Subaru and Suzuki. Each company will invest approximately 57 million yen (about $530,000) into the company, and in return, each automaker will receive a 2% stake in the company. SoftBank and Toyota both have 35% stakes, according to Reuters.

If you're wondering where the other 20% stake is, it's split between two other Japanese OEMs. Honda and Hino, a Toyota subsidiary for trucks, both announced the purchase of 10% stakes back in March. The two companies paid about $2.27 million each for those slices of Monet Technologies.

The goal of Monet is to build a self-driving car for use in various mobility enterprises, but the focus is on providing a vehicle for a ride-hailing venture that could go up against industry stalwarts like Didi Chuxing, Lyft and Uber. It's believed that Monet will use a vehicle similar to the e-Palette concept Toyota showed off at CES 2018.

The company will start its efforts in Japan, but it hopes to expand to other countries in the mid-2020s. Some of the companies involved have a past history already, especially when it comes to Toyota -- Mazda, Subaru and Suzuki all have research and development agreements with the automaker. Subaru, for example, will co-develop a new EV platform with Toyota, while Mazda and Toyota are teaming up to built a joint-venture plant in the US.

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