Toyota Motor and SoftBank agreed to partner to develop a new generation of transportation services by combining their expertise in connected cars and IoT.

In a joint press conference, Toyota president Akio Toyoda (pictured, right) and SoftBank chairman Masayoshi Son (pictured, left) discussed plans to establish a joint venture company, Monet Technologies, by April 2019. In a combined statement, the companies said the JV will aim to help “realise a safer and more comfortable mobility society”.

The venture will combine Toyota’s information infrastructure for connected vehicles with SoftBank’s IoT platform. Using a range of data related to automotive and human mobility on both platforms, the new company aims to optimise supply and demand in transportation with the goal of launching mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) businesses.

In its first phase, the venture plans to roll out just-in-time vehicle dispatch services for local public agencies and private companies across Japan. These services will include on-demand transportation through regional partnerships and corporate shuttles.

Japan and beyond
By the second half of the 2020s, the companies aim to roll out autonomous MaaS businesses using e-Palette, Toyota’s dedicated electric vehicle for mobility services. The plan is to introduce the services in Japan and then consider expanding overseas.

The companies are already heavily involved in the autonomous and connected car markets.

In 2017 Toyota teamed with Ford Motor Company to establish the SmartDeviceLink Consortium, which aimed to provide technology enabling access to smartphone apps in vehicles. Toyota also signed up to the Automotive Edge Computing Consortium, a cross-industry group focused on creating a network architecture capable of handling an expected deluge of data from connected vehicles.

SoftBank is set to take a near 20 per cent stake in GM Cruise, the autonomous vehicle division of US-headquartered car maker General Motors, as part of a $2.25 billion investment by its Vision Fund