Five Japanese automakers have announced plans to join a self-driving car venture setup between Toyota Motor Corporation and SoftBank. The added investments broaden the backing of the all-Japanese effort to develop self-driving vehicles.
Mazda Motor Corp, Suzuki Motor Corp, Subaru Corp, Isuzu Motors and Toyota unit Daihatsu will each take a stake of a few percent in the venture, reports Reuters.
As the industry pivots to autonomous vehicles, partnerships are forming that would have otherwise been unlikely. The five Japanese automakers are investing in Monet, an organization developing an on-demand self-driving service platform.
Monet was announced last October, then expanded further in March thanks to an investment from Honda Motors and Toyota’s Hino Motors truck division. The current mix makes SoftBank Monet’s largest shareholder, with a 40.2%. Toyota owns a 39.8% stake.
Prior to today’s report, Monet had a total of 2.5 billion yen. It is unclear how much the five new partners are investing into the start-up. All five partners and Monet have declined to comment on the new investments.
Monet plans to export a portion of its service to Southeast Asia next year and aspires to launch an on-demand bus and car service in Japan sometime within the next year.