Toyota Motor Corporation is acquiring Lyft’s self-driving vehicle division in a $550 million deal through its subsidiary Woven Planet, a company dedicated to developing autonomous driving and advanced mobility technologies. The acquisition of Lyft’s Level 5 automation will also include multiyear non-exclusive commercial agreements between the ride-hail company and Woven Planet. In addition to enhancing safety, this partnership will help expedite the development of self-driving technology and the commercialization of automated vehicles.
According to the press release, Lyft spent nine years building a transportation network that is uniquely capable of scaling AVs. The Level 5 team at Lyft will join Woven Planet to form a world-class team of engineers and scientists all working together to deliver safe mobility technology. Woven Planet and researchers at Toyota Research Institute have already established a center for advanced safety technology, automated driving, and software development.
Woven Planet is set to take responsibility of autonomous vehicle development; however, the commercial agreement with Lyft allows the Toyota subsidiary to use real-world driving data the ride-hailing service collects from its fleet. The Open Platform team at Lyft, which specializes in the deployment and scaling of third-party self-driving technology on the Lyft network, is being renamed Lyft Autonomous.
“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,” Logan Green, Lyft’s co-founder and CEO, said. “We look forward to continuing to partner with the best autonomous vehicle companies to bring this technology to market.”
Toyota will pay Lyft $250 million in advance; the remaining $350 million of the deal will be paid out over five years. With this deal, Lyft expects to remove approximately $100 million of annualized net operating expenses. Additionally, Woven Planet’s acquisition of Level 5 will allow Lyft to focus on advancing its Autonomous platform and transportation network.