Toyota venture to spend $2.8 billion to develop self-driving technology

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FILE PHOTO: An onboard display monitor shows other vehicles as a staff member of Toyota Motor Corp drives its self-driving technology "Mobility Teammate Concept" prototype car hands-free on the Metropolitan Expressway during the Toyota Advanced Technologies media preview in Tokyo, Japan, October 8, 2015. REUTERS/Yuya Shino/File Photo

Reuters Staff

TOKYO (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp said a new venture would be investing more than $2.8 billion to develop automated-driving software – the latest salvo in an increasingly frenetic battle to be ahead in a sector hit by a slew of disruptive technologies.

FILE PHOTO: An onboard display monitor shows other vehicles as a staff member of Toyota Motor Corp drives its self-driving technology “Mobility Teammate Concept” prototype car hands-free on the Metropolitan Expressway during the Toyota Advanced Technologies media preview in Tokyo, Japan, October 8, 2015. REUTERS/Yuya Shino/File Photo
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The Tokyo-based venture, which will bring together some 1,000 employees including new hires, will be 90 percent held by Toyota with group suppliers Denso Corp and Aisin Seiki Co each taking 5 percent.

“This company’s mission is to accelerate software development in a more effective and disruptive way, by augmenting the Toyota Group’s capability through the hiring of world-class software engineers,” James Kuffner, who will lead the venture, said in a statement.

FILE PHOTO: A Toyota Motor Corp. logo is seen on a car at the International Auto Show in Mexico City, Mexico November 23, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero/File Photo
The establishment of the new venture, Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development, comes as firms such as Alphabet Inc’s Waymo and Tesla Inc give traditional automakers a run for their money in building self-driving and electric cars.

English is set to be the main business language of the new venture, the statement said.

Toyota is also investing $1 billion in artificial intelligence and other technologies through its U.S.-based Toyota Research Institute, and has struck up technology partnerships with Microsoft Corp and Uber Technologies.

Last month, Toyota Research Institute’s venture capital unit said it was co-leading an $11.5-million seed investment in May Mobility, an Ann Arbor-based startup that is developing self-driving shuttles for college campuses, central business districts and similar low-speed applications.

Reporting by Minami Funakoshi; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and Edwina Gibbs

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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