After the ride-sharing company decided it was time to give it up, WPH (subsidiary of the Toyota Motor Corporation) swooped in to purchase Lyft’s entire AV division for a total of $550 million.
Woven Planet Holdings (WPH), a subsidiary of the major Japanese automotive manufacturing brand Toyota, has recently purchased Lyft’s autonomous vehicle (AV) division, properly known as Level 5, for a sum of $550 million.
Additionally, according to ITS International, both companies have signed commercial agreements that will be allowing Lyft’s system and fleet data to be utilized in order to enhance the commercialization and safety of the autonomous vehicles that Woven Planet is yet to produce as a result of this transaction.
This clearly must have been quite a big decision on Lyft’s part, especially when remembering how, just last year, the company expressed its ambition to launch its first ever fleet of robotaxis by the year 2023.
Working things out
Part of the agreement is that Woven Planet Holdings provides Lyft with $200 million worth of advanced payment, and will take care of the remaining $350 million through installments over the next five years.
“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.” Says Logan Green, co-founder of Lyft.
Lyft’s new autonomous team will be taken over by its open platform team that is responsible for the company’s network development of third-party AV technology.
As per a statement made by James Kuffner, CEO of Woven, “The Woven Planet team, alongside the team of researchers at Toyota Research Institute, have already established a centre of excellence for software development, automated driving, and advanced safety technology within the Toyota Group.”
Better days yet to come
John Zimmer, Lyft co-founder as well, has stated that this deal between WPH and their company will give Lyft better room to put more focus into sustainably moving its transportation network and leading autonomous platform forward. It is expected that this cooperation between the two new partners will prove positively profitable to both in the long run. The ride-hailing company is looking forward to removing net annual costs in relation to autonomous vehicles requiring expenses that go up to about $100 million.
Woven Planet Holdings, on the other hand, will have better opportunities to advance in terms of AV-developing efforts, especially since WPH is primarily committed to developing advanced mobility and autonomous driving technology.
Not all projects that start out full of optimism end up panning out exactly as envisioned. Lyft likely made a tough, but wise business decision to step down from its Level 5 responsibilities and hand them over to the eager WPH. On a much smaller, short-term, and individually-concerned note, some days it seems like a better idea to walk, or use your own means of getting around instead of sharing a ride or going on public transport. For ideal walking days, make sure to put a Fitbit Versa 2 Health and Fitness Smartwatch on. Rather not walk? Speed around on a Segway Ninebot Electric Dirt Bike Motocross.