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Toyota Makes Its Move In Autonomous Vehicles

By John Rosevear - Feb 9, 2021 at 1:30PM

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The self-driving Toyota Siennas, to be produced in collaboration with Aurora, will be used by Uber and other ride-hailing networks.

Silicon Valley self-driving start-up Aurora Innovation said that it has agreed to a long-term partnership with Toyota (TM 1.70%) and Toyota supplier Denso (DNZOY 1.63%) in which the partners will mass-produce autonomous vehicles for ride-hailing networks.

Aurora's autonomous-vehicle system, called the Aurora Driver, will initially be installed in Toyota Sienna minivans. The partners aim to have a fleet of self-driving Siennas completed for testing before the end of 2021, for deployment in ride-hailing service "over the next few years," Aurora said.

A white Toyota Sienna minivan with an Aurora logo on its door.

Aurora will work with Toyota and its key supplier, Denso, to create self-driving versions of the Toyota Sienna minivan for ride-hailing service. Image source: Aurora Innovation.

Uber Technologies (UBER 1.84%) will be an early client for the Aurora-Toyota vehicles, Aurora said, but it won't be an exclusive client. Toyota is an investor in Uber, which spent several years attempting to develop its own autonomous-vehicle system before selling that business unit to Aurora in December.

The deal's financial terms weren't disclosed. Bloomberg reports that Toyota will gain an "observer" seat on Aurora's board.

With this deal, Aurora joins several rivals in teaming up with a major global automaker or tech giant, including Alphabet-owned Waymo; General Motors-controlled Cruise; Argo AI, in which Ford and Volkswagen have significant stakes; and Zoox, which was purchased by Amazon.

Aurora, founded by veterans of Waymo, Uber, and Tesla, is believed to carry a valuation of more than $10 billion as of its most recent round of funding. The company announced a separate deal with heavy-truck maker PACCAR (PCAR 2.57%) in January, in which it will install the Aurora Driver in Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks for testing and possible deployment over the next several years. 

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Stocks Mentioned

Toyota Motor Corporation Stock Quote
Toyota Motor Corporation
$161.35 (1.70%) $2.69
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
$2,229.76 (2.37%) $51.60
Ford Motor Company Stock Quote
Ford Motor Company
$12.83 (2.64%) $0.33, Inc. Stock Quote, Inc.
$2,151.14 (-0.03%) $0.68
General Motors Company Stock Quote
General Motors Company
$36.00 (1.70%) $0.60
Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft Stock Quote
Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft
$20.22 (3.27%) $0.64
PACCAR Inc Stock Quote
$81.86 (2.57%) $2.05
DENSO Corporation Stock Quote
DENSO Corporation
$29.83 (1.63%) $0.48
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
$2,233.33 (2.15%) $47.07
Uber Technologies, Inc. Stock Quote
Uber Technologies, Inc.
$23.78 (1.84%) $0.43

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