Japan’s Toyota has signed an agreement to acquire U.S. ride-hailing company Lyft’s self-driving division, Level 5, for $550 million, upping the ante in its expansion into the autonomous vehicle industry.
The deal, which was announced on Tuesday, will see Level 5’s research team join Woven Planet, a subsidiary Toyota set up in January to focus on the development of autonomous driving and other advanced mobility technologies.
The acquisition will bring together the sensing, computing and software assets of both sides which are needed to develop autonomous driving technology, according to Woven Planet.
Moreover, Woven Planet signed commercial agreements with Lyft to use the latter company’s fleet data to accelerate the commercialization of its automated driving technology.
The acquisition of Level 5 marks the latest effort by Toyota to reinforce its research on self-driving technology, an important area that many of the world’s top conventional automakers are focusing on.
Last year, Toyota invested $400 million in Chinese autonomous vehicle startup Pony.ai, which is developing vehicles featuring Level 4 autonomy, the second-highest level of autonomous driving capability according to U.S. Society of Automotive Engineers standards. The Japanese carmaker is also a financial backer of Didi Chuxing, a Chinese startup aiming to use driverless vehicles for its taxi-hailing services.
Contact reporter Ding Yi (firstname.lastname@example.org)