Mobility app developer Lyft has signed an agreement with Woven Planet Holdings, a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation, for the acquisition of Lyft’s self-driving vehicle division, Level 5. The transaction also includes multi-year non-exclusive commercial agreements between Lyft and Woven Planet to accelerate the development and enhance the safety of automated driving technology.
“Today’s announcement (April 26) launches Lyft into the next phase of an incredible journey to bring our mission to life,” Lyft co-founder and CEO Logan Green said. “Lyft has spent nine years building a transportation network that is uniquely capable of scaling AVs. This partnership between Woven Planet and Lyft represents a major step forward for autonomous vehicle technology.”
Woven Planet is dedicated to developing autonomous driving and other advanced mobility technologies. In addition to the acquisition of Level 5, Woven Planet and Lyft have signed commercial agreements for the utilization of Lyft system and fleet data to accelerate the safety and commercialization of the automated-driving vehicles that Woven Planet will develop.
“This acquisition assembles a dream team of world-class engineers and scientists to deliver safe mobility technology for the world,” added James Kuffner, CEO of Woven Planet. “The Woven Planet team, alongside the team of researchers at Toyota Research Institute, have already established a center of excellence for software development, automated driving and advanced safety technology within the Toyota Group. I am absolutely thrilled to welcome Level 5’s world-class engineers and experts into our company, which will greatly strengthen our efforts.”
Lyft’s Open Platform team, which focuses on the deployment and scaling of third-party self-driving technology on the Lyft network, will become the new Lyft Autonomous team. “We are excited about the transformative impact AVs will have on our world as we drive toward a future that is electric, autonomous and shared,” Green noted.
“With Lyft Autonomous, we can combine the power of Lyft’s hybrid network, marketplace engine and fleet management capabilities to help our AV partners scale deployment with the highest revenue per mile at the lowest cost per mile. We look forward to continuing to partner with the best autonomous vehicle companies to bring this technology to market.”
Lyft will receive, in total, approximately US$550m in cash, with US$200m paid upfront subject to certain closing adjustments and US$350m of payments over a five-year period.
“Not only will this transaction allow Lyft to focus on advancing our leading Autonomous platform and transportation network, this partnership will help pull in our profitability timeline,” Lyft co-founder and president John Zimmer concluded.