Toyota is moving towards developing automated taxis In cooperation With emerging electric car maker Aurora and auto parts supplier Denso, the first car will arrive by the end of this year.
Toyota surpassed Volkswagen sales in 2020 and regained its place as the world’s largest automaker.
This collaboration represents a great opportunity for Aurora. Toyota is one of the few automotive companies that has yet to collaborate with autonomous car startups.
Also, Denso, which sprung from Toyota in the mid-20th century, is one of the largest auto suppliers on the planet, so Aurora is now playing with the big boys.
The companies plan to develop and test autonomous vehicles equipped with the Aurora autonomous gear and software suite, starting with the Toyota Sienna minivan.
The companies said: By the end of 2021 we expect to have designed, built and begun testing an initial fleet of Toyota Sienna near our development areas.
After the testing is completed, companies begin mass production of autonomous vehicles for large-scale ride-sharing operations.
Aurora recently increased its number of engineers after the acquisition of Uber’s self-driving car division late last year.
The startup has sent a job offer to about three-quarters of the ATG Group, which is headquartered in Pittsburgh and Toronto.
Toyota has largely kept its self-driving car a secret, and although it released some information about its experimental vehicles and the types of sensors it uses, it did not show many cars in operation.
The Japanese company had planned to provide a limited-function automatic guide for participatory transportation in the Tokyo city center during the 2020 Summer Olympics, but this was delayed due to the Corona virus pandemic.
The automaker also recently invested $ 400 million in Pony.ai, a self-driving startup headquartered in the United States and China.
Toyota has developed a self-driving program called Chauffeur, that focuses on complete autonomy, and essentially human beings are removed from the driving equation, either entirely in all environments, or within the restricted driving range.
Toyota has a second product called Guardian, which is essentially an advanced driver assistance system similar to Tesla’s autopilot.
The Toyota Research Institute is running tests in Ottawa Lake, Michigan, a study facility that has been closed for several years.
In 2018 Toyota agreed to invest $ 500 million in a self-driving joint venture with Uber, but that investment is now a moot point, as Aurora owns the remainder of Uber’s autonomous car division.