Toyota will team up with SoftBank to transform transportation through self-driving driverless car vehicles. The two premier companies are forming a new joint venture called MONET, a shorter version of mobility network and potential car services. This new venture is anticipated to be formed by April 2019 and will begin with two billion yen. SoftBank will own more than 50% of the business, while Toyota holds the rest of MONET.
Newly formed team will develop car services that depend on autonomous technology including shuttle buses, meal deliveries, and vehicles that offer onboard medical services. This is the first time the two companies have come together while they have been individually developing advanced technologies for driverless car vehicles and ride-sharing. Through the partnership, Toyota Motor Corp and SoftBank Group Corp together foresee a future in which fewer people drive their own vehicles.
In a joint statement, the Japanese Corporations said, MONET will coordinate between SoftBank’s Internet of Things (IoT) platforms that collect and analyze data from sensors and smartphones, and Toyota’s information infrastructure for connected vehicles. MONET is planning to roll out its vehicle services in Japan before targeting on future expansion on the global market.
According to a CNBC report, in the first phase, the new joint venture plans to roll out just-in-time vehicle dispatch services for public agencies and private companies in Japan. This is expected to move forward with on-demand mobility service by the second half of the 2020.
e-Palette, Toyota’s autonomous, battery operated electric vehicle will be used in on-demand mobility service for multiple purposes. The companies did not specify a timeline but the new venture is expected to increase to 10 billion yen in future. Junichi Miyakawa, representative director and CTO of SoftBank Corp, will be CEO and president of the new company. He said, “SoftBank and automakers alone can’t do everything. We want to work to help people who have limited access to transportation.”
On the development of e-Pallete, Toyota’s President Akio Toyoda said, it plans to use the service to transport athletes and guest around during Summer Olympics, 2020 in Tokyo. The news came after Toyota’s rival, Honda announced to invest $2.75 billion in Cruise, General Motors Co’s driverless car and self-driving unit vehicle, and take a 5.7% stake. Earlier this year, SoftBank has also invested $2.25 billion in Cruise. On the same day, Renault and Dailmer AG said they may expand their focus on autonomous vehicles, cooperation to batteries, and mobility services.