Toyota is accelerating its autonomous vehicle plans through its acquisition of Lyft’s Level 5, according to research company GlobalData.
Toyota Motor’s tech investment arm, Woven Planet Holdings, has agreed to acquire shared mobility giant Lyft’s self-driving vehicle division Level 5 for $550 million.
In response to the news, Bakar Sadik Agwan, senior automotive consulting analyst at GlobalData, offers her analysis.
She says: “The move comes a week after the company announced electrification and net carbon neutrality goals and follows the recent investment in US-based robotics and autonomous delivery company Nuro Inc by Woven Planet.
“The acquisition is a win-win situation for both parties. While it will strengthen Toyota’s position in the autonomous vehicle market and give it access to the US market, a key hub for autonomous technology development, it will help Lyft to save operating costs and inch towards profitability.”
She continues: “Level 5 has developed a self-driving system for the Lyft shared mobility network. It’s innovative Hybrid Network model uses combination of human drivers and autonomous vehicles to maximise vehicle utilisation.
“The company is presently testing its fourth-generation autonomous vehicle platform on public roads in the US. The acquisition will add significant value to Toyota’s existing autonomy, driver-assistance and shared mobility application expertise.”
She adds: “Toyota Motor has been accelerating its response to connected, autonomous, shared and electric (CASE) through strategic partnerships with a wide range of companies including automakers, component manufacturers, technology and shared mobility companies.
“The company already has its autonomous mobility as a service (Autono-MaaS) product, e-Palette market ready and has investments in leading shared mobility companies including China’s DiDi Chuxing and South Asian giant Grab.
“The acquisition will also help Toyota to capitalise on opportunities existing for autonomous vehicles in the shared mobility applications.”