Toyota’s new technology investment arm Woven Planet has acquired ride hailing company Lyft’s automated driving division.
The £396m deal will see the Toyota tech division acquire Level 5 and is the first major acquisition for the newly established arm.
Woven Planet says the deal brings together ‘world class scientists and software engineers’ from the Lyft division with researchers from Toyota.
The investment arm of Toyota says this ‘dream team’ of around 1,200 personnel will represent one of the ‘most diverse, well resourced and talented’ groups in the field.
The acquisition sees Toyota placed at the forefront of driverless technology.
As part of the deal, Woven Planet and Lyft have also agreed to accelerate the commercialisation of automated-driving technology.
Lyft will get £144m in cash up front as part of the deal and the remaining money over a five-year period.
James Kuffner, CEO of Woven Planet, said: ‘This acquisition advances our mission to develop the safest mobility in the world at scale.
‘Bringing Level 5’s world-class engineers and experts into the fold – as well as additional technology resources – will allow us to have even greater speed and impact.
‘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.’
Woven Planet Group was started in January and expands on the operations of the Toyota Research Institute.
It has four divisions – Woven Planet Holdings, Woven Core, Woven Alpha and Woven Capital – which aim to invest in automated driving, robotics, smart cities and more.
Lyft was founded in 2012 and is one of the largest ride hailing services in the US and Canada, behind Uber.