Toyota purchases U.S. mapping, road information business to bulk up driverless tech

Toyota Motor Corp’s logo on Estima Hybrid product is pictured at its headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, February 6, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

TOKYO, July 15 (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp’s (7203.T) investigate arm said on Thursday it obtained U.S.-based Carmera, a provider of maps and details for driverless motor vehicles, marking the Japanese motor vehicle maker’s hottest financial commitment in autonomous technological innovation.

The invest in, by means of recently made subsidiary Woven Earth for an undisclosed sum, underscores Toyota’s push to bulk up its self-driving arsenal as conventional automakers compete with the autonomous ambitions of tech giants like Apple (AAPL.O) and Amazon (AMZN.O).

Obtaining Carmera will give Toyota access to real-time, large-definition maps and crowdsourced inputs that are critical for autonomous automobiles to find and navigate on their own, the firms said in a statement.

The two companies have collaborated since 2018 on jobs together with engineering that updates repainted lane markings on large-definition maps with accuracy.

“It really is quite nicely aligned with our growth globally as a firm,” Woven Planet chief government James Kuffner informed Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.

Woven Earth was recognized in January to devote in and develop mobility with artificial intelligence. It is creating a prototype “town of the foreseeable future” called Woven City at the foundation of Mount Fuji, powered by hydrogen fuel cells that would be a laboratory for autonomous cars.

With the acquisition, Kuffner said Woven Planet would search to produce and promote an open up map platform to authentic devices companies and automakers who required exact and contemporary knowledge.

“With Carmera, we are just accelerating. We are going to carry on to accelerate … and glance for strategic partnerships or acquisitions,” Kuffner mentioned, including he needed to “double or quadruple” the measurement of Woven World in the following few of decades by means of natural and organic progress and acquisitions.

Before this calendar year, Toyota acquired trip-hailing assistance Lyft Inc’s (LYFT.O) self-driving technologies unit for $550 million, and invested in Ridecell that provides automation for fleet businesses. read more

The Japanese firm has other self-driving partnerships, including a joint enterprise with SoftBank Corp (9434.T), stakes in China’s Didi World wide Inc (DIDI.N) and Singapore’s Seize, and is forming a consortium with Typical Motors Co (GM.N), suppliers and chipmakers.

Relocating into new and non-conventional vehicle producing such as driverless and electric powered technology, Toyota has more and more married its storied production procedure with far more the latest acquisitions of startups and Silicon Valley know-how to establish the next generation of vehicles.

“You will find so substantially uncertainty in the automotive house right now,” said Kuffner.

“But the only issue that I am guaranteed of is that it will seem very distinctive in 10 or 30 a long time. The only factor we can do is to attempt to develop the long term by investment decision … just take the gains from Toyota’s current small business and devote it in the foreseeable future, to create the upcoming of the Toyota Team.”

Most automakers which includes Toyota offer Degree 2 automation the place the car steers and accelerates but the driver should be all set to take the wheel, and industry experts say totally self-driven cars and trucks are a long time absent.

Still, Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) CEO Elon Musk promised before this thirty day period that a beta model of its technologies that supports absolutely autonomous driving with no driver intervention will be available in “a month or so”. Toyota rival GM confirmed off a absolutely autonomous all-electric flying Cadillac concept car previously this calendar year.

Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu, Maki Shiraki Enhancing by Sayantani Ghosh and Muralikumar Anantharaman

Our Specifications: The Thomson Reuters Have confidence in Principles.

Anette Rentie

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