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Toyoto to Acquire Self-Driving Technology Unit from Lyft for $550 Million

Published Wed, Apr 28 2021 11:53 am
by The Silicon Trend

lyftImage Source: Unsplash

Japanese carmaker Toyota will obtain Lyft's self-driving tech unit for $550 million, the firms said on Monday, as Toyota steps up its automation aims with the newly developed Woven Planet division. The sale of Level 5 automation will also offer the Japanese company access to the US ride-hailing company's more than 300 employees of the essentially complete autonomy tech.

Its sale will permit Lyft to concentrate on partnerships with self-driving firms that want to utilize their tech on its platform, rather than creating expensive tech yet to enter the mainstream. The chief executive of Woven Planet Division - James Kuffner, told reporters on Tuesday, "This is the first step of developing & bringing together the people. Obviously, building tech & product requires users & that is much what this sale is about."

He added it will also provide the firm a direct presence in London & Silicon Valley & expand smart-city project' Woven City' at the base of Japan's Mt. Fuji, effectively aiding it to ride via dramatic modifications expected in the significant mobility centres & industry. Kuffner stated that Woven Planet, set up in January, plans to continue growing & investing in the team. However, he avoided responding about any future or timeline sale plans.

Takaki Nakanishi, an auto industry chief executive & analyst of the Nakanishi Research Institute, quoted by expanding alliance, Toyota is moving a step towards understanding its goals, including self-driving tech. The Japanese company currently provides Level 2 automation with ultra-modern driver assistance tech, has other self-driving projects & has been operating closely with ride-hailing companies.

It owns a share in China's best ride-hailing company - Didi Chuxing & Southeast Asia's Grab & also had a share in the self-driving unit of Lyft's larger competitor - Uber Technology Inc but transferred the share when Uber sold the team to start-up car company Aurora in December. Toyota said in February that it will build & develop autonomous minivans for ride-hailing networks with Aurora & long-term supplier ally Denso.

Cash Burning Deal

Lyft's acquisition allows it to offload cash-burning side deals & aims at retrieving their core divisions following a bruising pandemic year. It will receive $200 million cash upfront, with the remaining $350 million paid over 5 years. It said Lyft did not say immediately about its plan to invest the funds. But the acquisition will permit Lyft to report a third-quarter profit on an adjusted basis of earnings before taxes, depreciation, amortization & interest as long as the firm continues to retrieve from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lyft stated the acquisition will also eradicate $100 million in annual networking costs. Lyft said it will now focus on what it can do best with the self-driving vehicles by providing services such as user interface & managing, cleaning & maintain partner's driverless vehicle fleets, & routing, which could mean added revenue.

It already permits users to book rides in autonomous vehicles in selected cities in alliances with Alphabet's Waymo & Motional, the joint venture between Aptiv & Hyundai. Lyft Inc will continue to acquire real-world driving information via some 10,000 vehicles it rents out to users & ride-hail drivers. The data is vital for developing autonomous cars that Woven Planet will have to obtain under the deal.

But it also believes that human ride-hail drivers will remain significant for the predictable future to serve users during bad weathers, peak demand periods, or in areas that autonomous cars cannot navigate.