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Toyota and SoftBank – one more partnership in the self-driving vehicle space

Japan’s two top companies SoftBank and Toyota are planning to form an alliance named Monet which stands for mobility network. The JV is expected to be formed by April 2019 with an initial capital of $17.5 million. SoftBank will own just over 50% in the joint venture while Toyota will own the rest.

Toyota and SoftBank to form joint venture
(Image Courtesy: IFCAR/Wikimedia Commons)

Monet will leverage the self-driving know-how for various mobility services such as food delivery, mobile convenience stores and medical services. SoftBank holds stakes in various technology firms which gives it an advantage in terms of data and software-related capabilities. This, combined with Toyota’s competence in car-making will give the partnership strength.

The partnership is expected to start delivering its services over the coming ten years, first in Japan and then worldwide. SoftBank and Toyota have made various investments in autonomous vehicles and its related technologies. SoftBank’s investments include GM Cruise, the self-driving vehicle division of General Motors (GM), which secured another investor, Honda Motors (HMC), on Wednesday.

SoftBank and Toyota have also made investments and partnerships with cab service providers Uber, Grab and Didi Chuxing. Autonomous cars are generating a lot of interest and they are expected to significantly change the automotive and ride services industries. Several companies have invested in the development of self-driving technologies and other firms continue to enter the space.

For developing driverless vehicles, collaborations are happening recently between the companies within the automobile industry and also in the technology sector. Alphabet’s (GOOGL) Waymo has partnered with Fiat Chrysler, Jaguar and even Walmart (WMT) for self-driving cars and related services. The partnership between two of Japan’s leading companies has very ambitious plans for the future.

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