Toyota Motor Corp. has acquired the autonomous vehicle division of American ride-hailing company Lyft for $550 million, in a move that highlights the Japanese carmaker’s increasing interest in self-driving automotive technology.
The acquisition is deemed as part of Toyota’s scaled-up ambition in the automotive industry, together with its recently created Woven Planet Holdings.
Woven Planet would pay $200 million upfront in cash to Lyft, while the remaining $350 million would be made in payments over the next five years.
Under the acquisition deal, which is predicted to close within the third quarter of this year, would allow Toyota to integrate around 300 experts, scientists and software engineers from Lyft’s Level 5 team to be integrated into Woven Planet.
In a statement, Toyota said that its Woven Planet initiative aims to bring engineers, scientists, researchers and other experts in the field of mobility services, software and sensor assets and automated driving systems for the further advancement of the self-driving technology.
“This is the first step of establishing and bringing together the people. Obviously building technology and product requires people, and that’s much what this acquisition is about,” Woven Planet Chief Executive Officer James Kuffner said in his statement.
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