Time is money and when it comes to producing self-driving technology, it’s expensive, time-consuming and difficult. This is why it’s easier to acquire a solution, which is exactly what Toyota subsidiary, Woven Planet, has just done.
Woven Planet and Lyft announced on Monday the Toyota subsidiary would acquire the latter’s Level 5 self-driving car unit for $550 million USD. Level 5 is a fully autonomous vehicle that does not require human attention.
Both companies also will have commercial agreements in place as part of a multi-year deal, to “accelerate the development and enhance the safety of automated driving technology.”
“Today’s announcement launches Lyft into the next phase of an incredible journey to bring our mission to life,” said Lyft Co-Founder and CEO Logan Green, in a statement.
“Lyft has spent nine years building a transportation network that is uniquely capable of scaling AVs.This partnership between Woven Planet and Lyft represents a major step forward for autonomous vehicle technology,” said Green.
Over 300 engineers and data scientists from Lyft’s Level 5 team will now work for Woven Planet, while the Lyft Open Platform team, will become the new Lyft Autonomous team.
“This acquisition assembles a dream team of world-class engineers and scientists to deliver safe mobility technology for the world,” said James Kuffner, CEO of Woven Planet.
Lyft will receive roughly $550 million in cash for the deal, with $200 million paid upfront, and the remaining $350 million paid over a five-year period. The ridesharing company says the deal will fast-track its goal of becoming a profitable company.
“The Woven Planet team, alongside the team of researchers at Toyota Research Institute, have already established a center of excellence for software development, automated driving, and advanced safety technology within the Toyota Group. I am absolutely thrilled to welcome Level 5’s world-class engineers and experts into our company, which will greatly strengthen our efforts,” added Kuffner.
Back in December 2019, Lyft reached 100,000 self-driving rides. The company made self-driving rides a standard mode in the Lyft app in Las Vegas, back in September 2018.
Both companies say they expect the deal to close in Q3 of 2021.
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