Japanese companies Toyota Motor Corp. and SoftBank Group Corp. announced on Thursday plans to set up a joint venture by April 2019 that will utilize self-driving car technology to offer new services.
Visualizing a future in which fewer people are driving their own vehicles, Japan’s largest automaker and most influential tech firm will work hand in hand to create a platform to operate autonomous vehicles which can used as mobile shops, hospitals, and other services.
The news came as several automotive tech-related transactions and discussions has led to a number of pairings between global auto companies, ride-hailing firms, and major tech groups.
Toyota’s rival Honda Motor Co. Ltd. announced that it was buying stake in General Motors Co.’s (GM) autonomous vehicles division GM Cruise Holdings, as part of a plan for the Japanese and US carmakers to team up to build an self-driving vehicle.
The investment of $2.8 billion over the next 12 years includes Honda paying $750 million right away as it buys a 5.7 percent stake in Cruise Holdings.
Following news of the partnership, shares of Toyota fell 0.07 percent to $122.62. SoftBank closed up with a 1.2 percent gain to ¥11,180.0 on Thursday.