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Toyota to invest $500 million in Uber to fund self-driving car research

There’s some big news for those who have an eye on Uber’s impending plans for an IPO, with Toyota recently investing a reported $500 million in the ride sharing company.

The report comes via the Wall Street Journal (paywall), with the publication noting that the investment has pushed the valuation of Uber to $72 billion.

Having recently hired a CFO, now Uber looks better primed than ever for an initial public offer.

Toyota is now the second high-profile Japanese organisation to invest in Uber, following Softbank acquiring a 20 percent stake in the company at the end of last year.

This also isn’t the first time that Toyota and Uber have announced a venture together, with the pair striking up a strategic partnership back in 2016. This latest investment now strengthens those ties, according to WSJ.

As for what the carmaker is aiming to get out of the deal, it’s understood that Toyota will be working more closely with Uber on their self-driving car development.

The ride sharing app’s autonomous vehicles have stepped out of the spotlight recently, following a fatal crash earlier in the year, but could ramp up efforts in that regard following Toyota’s investment.

Whether or not the Japanese carmaker will be providing vehicles for testing, or indeed assisting in the development of the actual self-driving software remains to be seen.

Perhaps the endgame is to have a fleet of Toyota cars operating as autonomous Uber taxis in some of the world’s biggest cities?

We’ll likely have to wait some time for that to come to fruition though, as self-driving cars are yet to get the rubber stamp from legislators.

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