Toyota buys maps of the U.S. to increase road data without driver-driven technology

Toyota buys maps of the U.S. to increase road data without driver-driven technology

The Toyota Motor Corp. research team said Thursday it had bought Carmera in the U.S., a provider of maps and data for driverless vehicles, marking the Japanese automaker’s latest investment in autonomous technology.

The purchase, through its newly formed subsidiary Woven Planet, for an undisclosed amount, underscores Toyota’s push to expand its self-driving arsenal as traditional automakers compete with the autonomous intentions of tech giants such as Apple and Amazon.


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By purchasing the car, Toyota will be able to access real-time, high-definition maps and equipped sources, which are essential for autonomous vehicles to locate and navigate themselves, the company said in a statement.

(Read also | Toyota sold 8,801 units in the home market in June, a rapid rise from 707 in May)

The two companies have been collaborating since 2018, including technology that accurately updates the re-painted lane marks on high-definition maps.

“It’s doing very well with our global expansion as a company,” Woven Planet CEO James Kuffner told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.

Woven Planet was created in January to invest and develop mobility with Artificial Intelligence. At the base of Mount Fuji is being built a prototype called the “city of the future” called Woven City, powered by hydrogen fuel cells that would be laboratories for autonomous cars.

The Toyota Emblem is seen on the tire rim of a vehicle.  (Photo of the file)
The Toyota Emblem is seen on the tire rim of a vehicle. (Photo of the file) (REUTERS)

Along with the acquisition, Kuffner said Woven Planet would seek to develop and sell an open map platform to original equipment manufacturers and automakers who wanted open and accurate data.

(Read also | Toyota, Nissan worldwide sales rise in US demand, with departures intermittently)

“With Carmera, we’re accelerating. We’ll continue to accelerate … and look for strategic partnerships or acquisitions,” Kuffner said, adding that he wants to “double or quadruple” the size of the Woven Plan in the next couple. through annual organic growth and purchases.

Earlier this year, Toyota bought a $ 550 million vehicle service from Lyft Inc.’s auto-driving technology unit and invested in Ridecell, which provides automation for fleet businesses.

The Japanese company has other self-driving partnerships with SoftBank Corp., Stakes China’s Didi Global Inc. and Singapore’s Grab.

Toyota Motors logo
Toyota Motors logo (REUTERS)

By moving to new and unusual new manufactures like Toyota’s driverless and electric technology, Toyota has increasingly married the well-known manufacturing process, newer startup purchases, and knowledge to develop next-generation Silicon Valley cars.

“There’s still a lot of uncertainty in the automotive industry,” Kuffner said.

“But the only thing I’m sure is that in 10 or 30 years it will look very different. The only thing we can do is try to create the future through investment … Take the profits from Toyota’s existing business and invest in the future to create the future of the Toyota Group.”

Including Toyota, most automakers offer Level 2 automation; where the car is driven and accelerated, but the driver must be ready for the driver and experts say that fully self-driving cars are missing years.

However, Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk promised earlier this month that a beta version of its technology that would allow fully autonomous driverless intervention will be available “in a month or so”. Toyota Rival GM unveiled a fully autonomous Flying Cadillac electric vehicle earlier this year.

This story was published from a wire agency feed without any changes to the text.


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