Car Industry

Uber self-driving tech group receives $1B investment led by Toyota

Toyota and Uber are working on self-driving minivans.

Uber has also been experimenting with self-driving Volvo XC90 SUVs.

Uber

Uber's research into self-driving cars just got a major financial boost. The ride-hailing company announced Friday that, as had been rumored, it's receiving a $1 billion investment from Toyota, Denso and SoftBank Vision Fund. The announcement comes as Uber readies for its initial public offering on the stock market.

The company said that this new investment into the Uber Advanced Technologies Group will help "accelerate the development and commercialization of automated ridesharing services." Toyota and its supplier Denso account for $667 million of the investment figure, with SoftBank contributing the remaining $333 million. Toyota also plans to invest up to $300 million more over the next three years to "help cover the costs related to these activities," Uber said.

More specifically, Uber said this round of investment will finance more research and development of the hardware needed for autonomous cars, as well as helping start mass production and commercialization of self-driving ridesharing vehicles. Uber has made no secret of the fact it wants to launch self-driving services, eventually cutting today's human drivers out of the loop.

Toyota and Uber have had a connection for some time, with the automaker investing $500 million in Uber back in 2018. At the time, the stated goal was to build self-driving Toyota Sienna minivans that could be put into commercial use for ride-sharing by 2021. The vans would use Uber ATG's self-driving tech along with Toyota's Guardian active-safety technology.

"The development of automated driving technology will transform transportation as we know it, making our streets safer and our cities more livable," Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement. "Today's announcement, along with our ongoing OEM and supplier relationships, will help maintain Uber's position at the forefront of that transformation."