Earlier this year, Toyota created a new tech-focused subsidiary called Woven Planet Group. The new group has kept busy and kicked off its first year with a bang by acquiring Lyft’s self-driving car division — called “Level 5” — for $550 million.
Level 5, so named after the five stages of car autonomy, was costing Lyft a lot of money, and Toyota was perfectly positioned to take over. The automaker will absorb the 300 workers from Level 5 into its own team, adding up to about 1,200 employees, all dedicated to developing innovative driving technologies and, eventually, full driving automation.
“Bringing Level 5’s world-class engineers and experts into the fold ― as well as additional technology resources ― will allow us to have even greater speed and impact,” said Woven Planet CEO James Kuffner. “This deal will be key in weaving together the people, resources, and infrastructure that will help us to transform the world we live in through mobility technologies that can bring about a happier, safer future for us all.”
As part of the deal, Lyft will also provide Toyota with its system and fleet data. Both companies anticipate self-driving ridesharing services to be an important part of the future of mobility.
At Jordan Toyota, we’re excited to see what Toyota can do with Lyft’s self-driving car division. And fortunately, we won’t have to wait until fully automated vehicles are developed to benefit from the technologies created in the process!