Toyota today, announced that it will be investing around $500 million into Uber, which values the company at around $72 billion. This investment is part of a self-driving car pact that the two companies have announced and will enter into. Toyota and Uber will be working together on self-driving car, and it makes plenty of sense for both companies. Toyota can supply vehicles – like the Prius – for Uber to put its self-driving technology and software into. This solves the problem of getting cars to make self-driving, something that Waymo had to figure out as well.
Many companies have been investing in Uber lately, and looking to pick up a stake of the company before Uber goes public next year. SoftBank had the largest stake in the company, but now Toyota has a slightly larger stake. And the valuation that Toyota gave Uber is also slightly higher. While $72 billion isn't a whole lot, in the grand scheme of things, especially given how large Uber is, the company is still growing. And that's going to make its IPO next year an even larger one.
Toyota hasn't done a whole lot with self-driving technology just yet, but it looks like that is about to change. Uber has had some experience with self-driving cars, but it had to halt its project after one of its cars killed a woman in Arizona. The company has since then gotten back into work on its self-driving cars, but being much more careful, to make sure that it doesn't kill anyone else. Uber's cars are not fully autonomous, and has a human driver behind the wheel to take control when needed. In the case in Arizona, it needed the human to take over, but the driver was busy watching a TV show on her phone. And it caused the car to jump a curb and kill someone. It's unfortunate, but not totally Uber's fault.