Lyft sells self-driving tech unit to Toyota
The Toyota Motor Corp is to acquire Lyft’s self-driving technology unit in a deal that values it at $550 million.
The sale of Level 5 to Toyota’s Woven Planet division will allow Lyft to focus on partnerships with self-driving companies that want to deploy their technology on its platform, rather than have to develop the costly technology itself, which has yet to be put to wide-scale use.
Lyft will receive $200 million cash upfront, with the remaining $350 million paid over five years, according to the companies. The deal is expected to conclude in the third quarter.
Woven Planet was set up in January by Toyota in order to develop connected vehicle, autonomous and semi-autonomous driving technology. The deal will see it take over all of the more than 300 employees of Level 5.
Commenting on the announcement James Kuffner, CEO of Woven Planet said,“This acquisition advances our mission to develop the safest mobility in the world at scale. The Woven Planet team, alongside the team of researchers at TRI, have already established a center of excellence for software development and technology in the Toyota Group.
“Bringing Level 5’s world-class engineers and experts into the fold will allow us to have even greater speed and impact. This deal will be key in weaving together the people, resources, and infrastructure that will help us to transform the world we live in through mobility technologies that can bring about a happier, safer future for us all.”
Lyft said it would now be able to focus on offering services such as consumer interface and managing, and maintaining and cleaning partners’ autonomous vehicle fleets.
Critically, it will continue to collect real-world driving data through some 10,000 vehicles it rents out to consumers and ride-hail drivers which can then be used in the development of self-driving vehicles that Woven Planet will have access to under the deal.
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