SoftBank and Toyota aim to build a massive new network to facilitate autonomous driving by gathering data on mobility services. Their partnership will allow them to enhance their data gathering capabilities and create a robust new platform for new mobility services of the future.
In a joint statement on Thursday, the partners have announced that Hino Motors and Honda Motor have signed with them, and will join their alliance shortly after.
Both Honda and Hino will put up $2.26 million each into the joint venture company, named Monet Technologies. This investment round will be completed by the end of May 2019 and will mean that both Honda and Hino will own 9.998% stake in the joint venture each. After the investment round is completed, SoftBank will still remain the majority shareholder of Monet Technologies, owning a 40.2% share of the company. Toyota will control the remaining 39.8% of the joint venture company.
The CEO of Honda, Takahiro Hachigo has stated that he believes their new partnership with Toyota and SoftBank will result in more efficient delivery of mobility services, and would, in turn, make it easier for them to acquire new customers and gain more social acceptance in the future.
Toyota and SoftBank announced their alliance in late October of last year, where they announced that they intended to enhance the mobility services sector by utilization of data and artificial intelligence. The joint venture company will work with local governments to introduce on-demand services such as buses.
SoftBank Corp and Honda are also investors in GM Cruise, which is an offshoot of the US Carmaker giant GM that is involved in the development of self-driving technology.
Monet Technologies hopes that by rapid utilization of data, they will be able to introduce safer modes of transport and services. To that end, the company needs to collect huge amounts of data, and so it needs the support of local governments to meet their goals. The more data they can collect, the better their AI technology will get to develop the mobility services of the future.
As the company is based in Japan, it needs to transform the transport system of the country into data. By gathering data on how the transport system works on the streets of Japan, Monet will be able to calibrate their self-driving vehicles to adjust to different environments and become safer.
The company is currently collecting 170 different types of data sets from Toyota vehicles, including the speed and frequency of braking these vehicles. The platform will get smarter as it gets to analyze more data from these vehicles.
The company has also potential in foreign markets with its unique data platform. It has already formed a consortium with other companies in Japan to utilize its platform for foreign markets.
The company can also partner with ride-hailing companies in the future to develop new mobility services. SoftBank already has major investments in ride-hailing giant Uber.