Toyota invests $500 million in Uber to develop self driving cars


Toyota is a Japanese car maker. Uber is a service that allows people to order and share transport. They have both been part of the quest to develop safe driverless or self driving cars. Driverless cars? Yup, you read right – cars that drive themselves! Click here to see what we have written about this before.

The latest? This week, Toyota announced that they will be investing $500 million in Uber to expand their existing partnership to develop self driving cars. The Toyota minivans will be fitted out with a mix of some of Toyota’s technology and some of Uber’s. They say they will have them on the roads in 2021.

There are a number of automobile companies like Nissan, Toyota, BMW, Mercedes, Tesla, and others, developing self-driving cars. There are also technology companies such as Google and Apple who are apparently in stages of development of this technology.

In Japan this week, a company called ZMP, which develops this driverless technology, and Hinomaru Kotsu, a taxi service company, were testing out self driving taxis along a short stretch in Tokyo. Customers apparently could get into the car, pay using their smart phones, and made the pre-programmed trip. Japanese companies are trying to develop and test these cars before the 2020 Sumer Olympics so they can use these to take tourists back and forth from the sports arenas.

Of course this is cutting edge technology, and needs a lot of testing before it is put on the roads. The sensors around the cars need to record speed and movement of objects, cars, and people, around them, and they need to be able to stop even with sudden movements or it can be dangerous for pedestrians, pets, and passengers in other vehicles.

It’s exciting to see what will unfold!

Written by: Sunaina Murthy. Sunaina is a biotechnologist, writer, greedy reader, and amateur photographer.


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