Toyota buys Lyft self-driving car division for $ 550 million
The San Francisco-based taxi booking service announced Monday that it had sold its Level 5 self-driving car division to Toyota for $ 550 million. In the future, Lyft intends to focus on partnerships with companies looking to launch their autonomous driving technologies on their platform rather than develop expensive technologies that have not yet become widespread.
As part of the deal, Lyft will receive an advance payment of $ 200 million in cash, and the remaining $ 350 million will be paid over five years. The deal is expected to be completed in the third quarter of this year. More than 300 Level 5 employees will join the Woven Planet division, which Toyota created in January to develop connected vehicles, autonomous and semi-autonomous driving technologies.
Lyft said it will now focus on self-driving car services, including servicing and cleaning vehicles from partner fleets, which could generate additional revenue. It accepts orders for self-driving cars in several cities in partnership with Alphabet’s Waymo and Motional, a joint venture between Hyundai Motor and Aptiv.
The service will also continue to collect real-world driving data for the roughly 10,000 vehicles it rents out to consumers and drivers. This data, which is important for self-driving vehicles, will be accessed by Woven Planet as part of the deal.
However, Lyft believes that regular chauffeured vehicles will continue to be used for customer service for the foreseeable future, such as during periods of peak demand, inclement weather, or in areas where autonomous vehicles cannot move.