Lyft, an American competitor of Uber, has sold its research division to Toyota, which intends to use it to develop its new mobility services.
For VTC driver start-ups Uber and Lyft, its competitor in the United States, autonomous driving was a perfect promise : the hope of getting rid of what weighs the most in their profits, the drivers themselves. This is why these two companies were until recently part of the most advanced in autonomous cars, just like giants like Google or Amazon.
But now, times are tough, and Uber like Lyft are still not profitable businesses. And to stop the costs and free up some money, they both decided to part ways with their autonomous driving research labs. At the end of 2020, Uber thus sold its research division to the specialized start-up Aurora. And at the end of April 2021, Lyft announced that it was selling its autonomous driving department, called Level 5 (the level of fully autonomous driving), at Toyota.
To be precise, it is la holding Woven Planet which acquired Level 5, for approximately $ 550 million (€ 454 million). Woven Planet is a Toyota project which aims to bring together and finance numerous mobility start-ups. In the line of sight, Toyota wants to create an experimental city in Japan, Woven City, which will concentrate all the group’s research on mobility, alternative energies, and ecology. From autonomous cars to robots, including new urbanism and hydrogen, its volunteer inhabitants will be able to test new lifestyles in this futuristic city.
Closer to us, we can also expect to find technologies developed by Level 5 in future Toyota models, in the race for autonomous driving initiated by all manufacturers in the world.
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