Toyota: Strengthening development for AD and connected, and collaborating on CASE for CVs
Unveiled advanced e-Palette, started construction of Woven City, and established Woven Planet
|Woven City and the e-Palette (Source: Toyota)|
After announcing its "Connected City" project (Toyota calls it the "Woven City") at the CES in January 2020, Toyota has been announcing a series of plans to enhance autonomous driving (AD), connectivity, and software development to support its Woven City project (see table below). This report provides an overview of Toyota's initiatives related to the above, focusing on the key developments that have occurred over the past six months or so.
The e-Palette, which evolved toward practical use in December 2020, was unveiled to the public, and two e-Palette operation management systems were announced. The e-Palette is not just the vehicle, but refers to Toyota's mobility services using automated driving vehicles as a package that includes the systems that operate the services, and is provided as a mobility services platform.
In February 2021, Toyota began construction work on the "Woven City" in Susono City, Shizuoka Prefecture. The e-Palette will be used in a variety of places in the city, including as a mobile retail outlet in addition to transporting people and delivering goods.
To strengthen the software development system that supports these activities, TRI-AD (Toyota Research Institute - Advanced Development, Inc.), a Toyota Group software development company, was shifted to a new structure in January 2021, consisting of the operating companies Woven Core, Inc. and Woven Alpha, Inc. under the umbrella of the holding company Woven Planet Holdings, Inc.
In addition, Toyota has been making acquisitions, investments, and partnerships for autonomous driving technology in the U.S. and China, including the acquisition of Lyft Inc.'s automated driving division.
In April 2021, Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) and four passenger car manufacturers, Suzuki Motor Corporation (Suzuki), Subaru Corporation (Subaru), Daihatsu Motor Co. Ltd. (Daihatsu), and Mazda Motor Corporation (Mazda) agreed to jointly develop technical specifications for next-generation vehicle communication devices and to promote the common use of communication systems.
As for the commercial vehicle business's response to the CASE (Connected, Autonomous, Shared, and Electric) technologies, in March 2021, Toyota, Isuzu Motors Limited, (Isuzu), and Hino Motors, Ltd. (Hino) announced that they would jointly work on the development of BEVs and FCVs, autonomous driving technologies, and electronic platforms, mainly in the light-duty truck area, with the aim of solving transportation issues and contributing to the realization of carbon neutrality.
Note that Toyota's (non-consolidated) global sales and production have been increasing year-over-year (y/y) since September 2020. Global sales in FY2020 were 96.0% compared to the previous year's level, driven mainly by China, North America, and Japan. In China, the company sold 2 million units for the first time, reflecting a 129.6% increase over the previous year.
Announcements and implementation of plans to strengthen autonomous driving and connected
|2020||January||Announced the “Woven City" project at the CES|
|February||Invested USD 400 million in Pony.ai, a Chinese startup working on autonomous driving technologies|
|March||Announced joint research and development of the "Smart City Platform" with NTT Corporation|
|July||Announced that TRI-AD will be reorganized into the Woven Planet Holdings Group (effective January 2021)|
|December||Announced the operations management system to support the providing of services that will enable practical use of the e-Palette|
|2021||February||Toyota and Denso Corporate team up with self-driving car development startup Aurora|
|March||Woven Capital, L.P. invests in Nuro, Inc., a robotics company that specializes in providing autonomous delivery.|
|Invested in Momenta, a Chinese startup company that develops autonomous driving technology|
|Toyota, Isuzu, and Hino announced commercial vehicle partnership to accelerate CASE response|
|April||Woven Planet Holdings agreed to Level 5, the self-driving division of Lyft, Inc., for about USD 550 million.|
|Agreed to jointly develop technical specifications for next-generation in-vehicle communication devices with four partner passenger car manufacturers (Suzuki, Subaru, Daihatsu and Mazda)|
Toyota's EV strategy: “Toyota bZ4X" and "Lexus LF-Z Electrified" announced (Apr. 2021)
Toyota's Development of Vehicle Safety Technology Utilizing Big Data (Apr. 2021)
Toyota: Creating HD maps for automated driving on general public roads (Apr. 2020)
Toyota: Deepens alliances with Subaru, Mazda and Suzuki to strengthen competitiveness (Jan. 2020)
CES 2020: Next-generation mobility initiatives by Japanese manufacturers (Jan. 2020)
Toyota Automated Driving: The Guardian and Chauffeur approaches (Mar. 2018)