Woven Planet Holdings Inc, a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation, has agreed to acquire Level 5, the self-driving division of Lyft Inc one of the largest ride-hailing companies in the world. This marks the first major deal for the newly established Woven Planet.
The deal will bring together world-class scientists and software engineers from Level 5, Woven Planet, and researchers from Toyota Research Institute Inc (TRI) already working together with Woven Planet. The resulting combined "dream team" of approximately 1,200 will represent one of the most diverse, well-resourced and talented groups in this field. For further information see the IDTechEx report on Autonomous Cars and Robotaxis 2020-2040: Players, Technologies and Market Forecast.
Today's announcement places Woven Planet at the center of the connected and automated driving movement by providing:
- Talent: an international team of top-tier engineers, research scientists, and domain experts in mobility services.
- Technology: a robust set of sensing, computing, and software assets, and strategic capabilities in automated driving systems.
- International Footprint: once the acquisition is complete, Woven Planet will have an expanded footprint beyond its Tokyo headquarters, with offices and engineering teams in Palo Alto, CA and London, UK.
In addition to the acquisition of Level 5, Woven Planet and Lyft have signed commercial agreements for utilization of the Lyft system and fleet data to accelerate the safety and commercialization of the automated-driving technology that Woven Planet will develop. Lyft will receive approximately $550 million in cash, with $200 million paid upfront subject to certain closing adjustments and $350 million of payments over a five-year period.
James Kuffner, CEO, Woven Planet commented: "This acquisition advances our mission to develop the safest mobility in the world at scale. The Woven Planet team, alongside the team of researchers at TRI, have already established a center of excellence for software development and technology in the Toyota Group. 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. 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."
Logan Green, CEO, Lyft said "Today's announcement launches Lyft into the next phase of an incredible journey to bring our mission to life. Lyft has spent nine years building a transportation network that is uniquely capable of scaling autonomous vehicles. This deal brings together the vision, talent, resources and commitment to advance clean, autonomous mobility on a global scale."
Source: Woven Planet Holdings Inc
Top image: Lyft Inc