Japan’s SoftBank is teaming up with automaker Toyota on a joint venture to develop ways to use driverless vehicle technologies to make people’s everyday lives easier.
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Called MONET Technologies – which refers to mobility network – the pair of corporate giants said on Thursday the company aims to address social mobility issues, such as transporting the elderly, by finding new ways to use autonomous technologies. The first phase will involve on-demand vehicle services dispatched to private companies in Japan.
Toyota is working on its own line of driverless vehicles, which could be added to the service as part of the second phase by 2020.
While companies across the globe are investing heavily in autonomous technologies, Toyota and SoftBank are looking to best rivals by planning further into the future. The pair of companies said possibilities using their technology include “just-in-time mobility” – like meal delivery services where food is prepared on the road, hospital shuttles where exams can be performed on the move, mobile convenience stores and offices.
Toyota said it will be able to leverage the internet and data expertise of SoftBank to change the way it services customers.
The joint venture is expected to roll out first in Japan, “with an eye to future expansion on the global market.”
SoftBank and Toyota are both investors in ride-sharing service Uber, as well as some similar services around the globe.