San Francisco: Toyota is acquiring the autonomous car division of ride-hailing platform and Uber rival Lyft for $550 million, as the self-driving car industry begins to grow.
Woven Planet Holdings, a subsidiary of Toyota, will acquire Lyft’s self-driving division, Level 5, for $550 million in cash.
Toyota has provided $200 million to Lyft and the $350 million will be paid out to Lyft over five years, The Verge reported on Tuesday.
The ride-hailing company says it will see an annual savings of $100 million of non-GAAP expenses, which it claims will better position it to ultimately earn a profit. Toyota has also agreed to use Lyft’s fleet data and platform for any commercial service it eventually launches under its Woven Planet subsidiary.
Last year, Uber sold its autonomous vehicle devision to Aurora, a startup founded by the former head of Google’s self-driving project.
Lyft launched its Level 5 division in 2017, saying that by 2021, “a majority” of its rides would take place in autonomous vehicles.
“The company hired hundreds of engineers to staff a 50,000-square-foot facility in Palo Alto, California. A year later, Lyft acquired the UK-based augmented reality startup Blue Vision Labs for a reported $72 million in the hopes of accelerating its efforts,” the report mentioned.
But the autonomous vehicles industry did not take off as Lyft expected. Most such vehicles on the road today are still test vehicles.