Toyota: One more racing company per application is giving up its own autonomous vehicles. This time, in a transaction that will involve $ 550 million, Lyft will sell its tier 5 division to a Toyota subsidiary, Woven Planet Holdings, a deal that is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021 and ends a four-year journey. of the company.
Maintaining projects of this type is costly, and the goal of Lyft, which, in 2017, hired hundreds of engineers to work on its 4,500 square meter facility located in California and acquired, in 2018, the reality startup Blue Vision Labs increased by $ 72 million to accelerate its efforts, it didn’t even come close.
Despite having stated at the time that, until this year, a large part of its fleet would be formed by the units it intended to put on the streets of Las Vegas and some technical successes, a large part of the active vehicles is only intended for testing – and it is a long way away. to be used in bulk. With Toyota, on the other hand, things can change.
In the transaction, the Japanese automaker agreed to use Lyft’s data and platform for any service it will launch under the brand Woven Planet Holdings and should apply all of its experience already gained with autonomous cars that are still unknown.
In fact, it would already offer industry solutions during the Tokyo Summer Olympics, postponed by the covid-19 pandemic. In addition, in 2020, it invested $ 400 million in Pony.ai, an autonomous startup based in the United States and China.
Among other actions, he developed a stand-alone software called “Chauffeur”; an advanced driver assistance system similar to Tesla’s autopilot, the “Guardian”; and has been conducting tests at its closed-field facilities in Michigan for several years.
The company has now lent $ 200 million to Lyft in advance and will provide the remainder for the next five years, generating an annual savings of $ 100 million to its partner.