Toyota has started a new company Toyota Research Institute — Advanced Development (TRI-AD). The new company is a collaboration with automotive suppliers Aisin Seiki and Denso and together they will be investing $2.8 billion in TRI-AD. The company’s goal is to further advance autonomous vehicle technology and it will hire around 1,000 for its headquarters in Tokyo.
TRI-AD will be an offshoot of already existing Toyota Research Institute (TRI), founded in 2015. TRI was working on AI with focus on self-driving cars and robots and was lead by the former head of DARPA Robotics Challenge. Most automakers have gained access to autonomous driving technology through acquisition, rather than in-house development — GM acquired Cruise Automation for this purpose, while Ford bought Argo.
Yandex launches car-sharing service
Russian search engine company Yandex has launched a car-sharing service in Moscow, called Yandex.Drive. The service will start with a fleet of 750 vehicle. The reports of a new car-sharing company from Yandex started emerging in December of the last year. Price per minute for leasing a Yandex vehicle will start at $0.08 per minute and will increase based on demand and traffic.
Yandex has been getting more and more active on the mobility scene, last year it finished acquiring Uber operations in Russia and in February it showed off its self-driving vehicle cruising through snowy Moscow.
Daimler buys last 25% of car2go from Europcar
Daimler has acquired remaining 25% of car-sharing company car2go from Europcar for €70 million. This brings the valuation of car2go to €280 million. Europcar said it will be using the proceeds of the sale for investment in new mobility services. Europcar already owns Ubeeqo, BlueMove and Brunel.
Daimler’s full acquisition of car2go is seen as further proof of reports that it plans to merge its car-sharing unit with BMW’s DriveNow. BMW also acquired last stake of Sixt from DriveNow last month.