Image credits: Toyota Motor Corporation
News Article

Toyota Takes Bold Steps Towards Autonomous Vehicles

By Alejandro Enríquez | Thu, 07/29/2021 - 12:39

Woven Planet Holdings, a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation, closed the acquisition of Level 5, the self-driving division of US ride-hailing giant Lyft, this week. The closing came right after the announcement of the upcoming acquisition of CARMERA Inc, a US based spatial AI company that specializes in next-generation road intelligence. These two acquisitions mark bold steps toward the development of increasingly autonomous vehicles.

"The acquisition of Level 5 advances our mission to develop the safest mobility in the world at scale. This deal will be key in weaving together the people, resources and infrastructure that will help us to transform the world we live in through mobility technologies that can bring about a happier, safer future for us all," said James Kuffner, CEO of Woven Planet. "Lyft has spent nine years building a transportation network that is uniquely capable of scaling autonomous vehicles. This deal brings together the vision, talent, resources and commitment to advance clean, autonomous mobility on a global scale," said Logan Green, CEO of Lyft.

According to Kuffner, Level 5 acquisition represents Woven Planet Group’s "first major acquisition." The group is the evolution of Toyota Research Institute - Advanced Development (TRI-AD) and "blends expertise and resources to bringing the vision of 'Mobility to Love, Safety to Live' to life."

The CARMERA acquisition also adds up to Woven Alpha Inc.'s Automated Mapping Platform (AMP). Woven Alpha Inc., part of the Woven Group, embodies the development of "the most globally comprehensive road and lane network HD map platform." With this platform, high-precision localization will be easier to enable and thus automated vehicles will have it easier to drive themselves.

"We have been progressing steadily in bringing safe automated mobility to the passenger and commercial vehicle segments, such as our recent announcements with Isuzu Motors Limited and Hino Motors, Ltd., and with Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation. I am really excited to welcome CARMERA to Woven Planet. With CARMERA joining the team, we'll be able to hit the accelerator," said Mandali Khalesi, VP of Automated Driving Strategy and Mapping of Woven Planet.

Autonomous vehicles are one of the four pillars of Toyota's path toward the business of mobility, told Luis Lozano, President of Toyota Motor de México, to MBN: "Our evolution toward becoming a mobility company is based on the four pillars of CASE: Connected, Autonomous, Shared, and Electric," he told on an interview.

Autonomous Vehicles in Mexico

The name Level 5 refers to the fifth level of autonomy, which is for vehicles that include automated driving assistance systems (ADS) that allow the car to drive by itself under any conditions without a human driver. If you want to learn more about levels of autonomy and their advancement in the Mexican market, you can read our analysis on the subject here.

The development of ADS in the Mexican market goes hand-in-hand with the development of 5G, the fifth-generation wireless technology that reduces latency to one tenth of a blink of an eye, while increasing the number of devices that can be interconnected. You can read the highlights of the panel Connectivity, 5G and Autonomous Vehicles, that took place during Mexico automotive Summit 2021 here.

Alejandro Enríquez Alejandro Enríquez Journalist and Industry Analyst