WASHINGTON: US ride hailing service Lyft agreed to sell its autonomous driving division to a unit of Japan’s Toyota for US$550 million, the companies said yesterday.
The move follows a similar divestment from Uber last year as the rideshare firms focus on core operations amid struggles during the yearlong coronavirus pandemic.
The Lyft operations known as Level 5 will be folded into Woven Planet Holdings, a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation, which will create a team of some 1,200 working on self-driving technology in Japan, the US and Britain.
Lyft will receive some US$550 million in cash, with US$200 million paid upfront and US$350 million of payments over a five-year period, under the agreement.
“This acquisition advances our mission to develop the safest mobility in the world at scale,” said Woven Planet chief executive James Kuffner.
“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.”
Lyft CEO Logan Green said the transaction “brings together the vision, talent, resources and commitment to advance clean, autonomous mobility on a global scale”.
Both Lyft and Uber had been working on their own technology for autonomous cars, but the firms have been hit hard by the slowdown in ridesharing during the global pandemic.