Toyota, SoftBank to invest $1 bn in Uber to boost self-driving rideshare
19 April 2019
Toyota Motors and SoftBank Vision Fund, both based in Japan, will invest a total of $1 billion in US-based ride-hiring platform Uber, to help it expand into the driverless ridesharing services.
The latest cash injection, which is seen as the largest in the tech sector in recent years, is expected to close in the third quarter this year.
Toyota has already invested $ 500 million in Uber as the firm pits itself against Google-owned Waymo and a host of other companies, including major automakers, to develop self-driving vehicles.
The latest round of investment, which also involves Japanese parts maker DENSO, will go to Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group that aims to “accelerate the development and commercialisation of automated ridesharing,” the firms said in a statement.
Toyota and DENSO are investing up to $667 million while SoftBank Vision Fund will chip in $333 million into the venture. SoftBank is already the largest shareholder in Uber, holding 16 per cent.
Toyota would also contribute “an additional $300 million over the next three years to help cover the costs related to these activities.”
Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said driverless cars would “transform transportation as we know it, making our streets safer and our cities more liveable.”
Uber is looking at a future where people share, rather than own, vehicles, he said, adding that in future commuters could ride an e-scooter to a transit station, take a train, then grab an e-bike, share a ride or take an e-scooter at the arriving station to complete a journey - all using an Uber app on a smartphone.
Uber is also pushing its “Eats” service that lets drivers make money delivering meals ordered from restaurants.
Last week, Uber filed official documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission for its much-anticipated public share offer.
As per the IPO document, Uber operates in six continents with some 14 million trips per day and has totalled more than 10 billion rides since it was founded in 2010. The initial public offer (IPO), likely to be issued in May, is expected to raise $10 billion in what would be the largest stock offering of the year.
Media reports said the ride-hailing giant was likely to seek a market value of close to $100 billion.