Toyota and SoftBank create venture for mobility services

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Japanese car maker Toyota has announced that it is teaming up with Japanese tech powerhouse Softbank in a joint venture that will aim to develop autonomous mobility services.

As the race to bring self-driving vehicles to market intensifies, Toyota believes that a joint effort is the way forward and partnering with one of the world’s leading technology companies to help deliver advanced AVs will help share costs, knowledge and R&D to reach its goal.

As part of this strategic partnership the two companies plan to launch a company called Monet Technologies, which stands for mobility network, by April 2019. The objective is to roll out Autonom-MaaS businesses by the second half of 2020.

The venture plans to utilize Toyota’s e-Palette platform – a battery electric vehicle that can be used for various purposes including mobility, delivery and retail – to revolutionize the possibilities for food delivery where food is prepared on route; hospital shuttles with on-board medical examinations; and mobile offices.

In a Toyota press release the company stated, “Monet will provide coordination between Toyota’s Mobility Services Platform (MSPF), Toyota’s information infrastructure for connected vehicles, and SoftBank’s Internet of Things platform, which was built to create new value from the collection and analysis of data acquired from smartphones and sensor devices.

“By using a wide range of data forms related to automotive and human mobility on both platforms, Monet is aiming to optimize supply and demand in transportation and, ultimately, to launch Mobility as a Service (MaaS) businesses capable of resolving mobility issues and creating new value.”

Monet will first roll out just-in-time vehicle dispatch services in Japan, such as on-demand transportation and corporate shuttles.

By James Billington

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