Softbank and Toyota are joining hands for developing driverless technology-based transportation businesses.
In a joint venture called Monet, the two Japanese companies will offer services including mobile convenience stores, delivery vehicles, transportation for the elderly, hospital shuttles and mobile offices – all via autonomous vehicles. SoftBank Group can potentially leverage the data collected from its Internet of Things platform towards developing the venture, while Toyota’s experience in the vehicle industry will add to the partnership.
All of Monet’s services are expected to roll out, phase by phase, over the next decade. For instance, by the second half of the 2020s, the venture will start an on-demand mobility service using Toyota's self-driving electric vehicle called e-Palette for meal deliveries and hospital shuttles.
The companies said that the joint venture will start at 2 billion yen ($17.49 million), and will be raised to 10 billion yen in future. However no timeline has been mentioned as yet. SoftBank will have a 50.25% stake in Monet while Toyota will own 49.75%.
The news comes shortly after Toyota rival Honda announced a $2 billion investment over the next 12 years towards a collaboration with General Motors’s self-driving vehicle subsidiary Cruise for building an apparently one-of-a-kind driverless cars.