Toyota, SoftBank Partner to Drive Safer Mobility For Everyone
The transportation sector has seen a rapidly growing and global interest in the past decade. From connected, electric to self-driving vehicles, technologies are continuously changing all aspects of mobility to improve commuting experience. To facilitate the creation of new mobility services, recently, Toyota Motor Corporation (“Toyota”) and SoftBank Corp. (“SoftBank”) have agreed to form a strategic partnership and establish a joint venture company called MONET Technologies Corporation, before the end of the 2018 fiscal year (April 2019).
This is not the first time that the Japanese automaker has shown its interest in the self-driving cars. In March, Toyota teamed up with fellow Japanese entities Aisin Seiki Co., Ltd. and Denso Corporation to form the Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development or TRI-AD.
The new company MONET will help realize a safer and more comfortable mobility society by combining SoftBank's corporate philosophy, “Information Revolution — Happiness for everyone,” with Toyota's vision of “Mobility for All.”
Mobility as a Service – The Next Big Idea
The name “MONET” combines the first letters of the words “mobility network,” and was chosen to embody the desire of both companies to build a network that provides safer and more comfortable mobility to everyone.
“MONET will provide coordination between Toyota's Mobility Services Platform (“MSPF”), Toyota's information infrastructure for connected vehicles, and SoftBank's Internet of Things (IoT) Platform, which was built to create new value from the collection and analysis of data acquired from smartphones and sensor devices. By utilizing a wide range of different forms of data related to automotive and human mobility on both platforms, the joint venture is aiming to optimize supply and demand in transportation and, ultimately, to launch Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) businesses capable of resolving social mobility issues and creating new value,” SoftBank said in an official press release.
Optimizing On Demand Transportation Services & Autonomous Mobility
For the first phase, MONET plans to roll out just-in-time vehicle dispatch services for local public agencies and private companies throughout Japan. These services, which will include on-demand transportation through regional partnerships and corporate shuttles, will be provided in tune with user demand.
By the second half of the 2020s, MONET plans to roll out Autono-MaaS (autonomous mobility as a service) businesses using e-Palette, Toyota's dedicated battery electric vehicle for mobility services that can be used for various purposes, including mobility, logistics, and sales.
The possibilities include demand-focused just-in-time mobility services, such as meal deliveries vehicle where food is prepared while on the move, hospital shuttles where onboard medical examinations can be performed, mobile offices, and many more. Currently, MONET will roll out these businesses in Japan with an eye to future expansion on the global market.
Just a day before the Toyota-Softbank partnership, Japanese automotive giant Honda announced the investment of $ 2.75 Billion in General Motor's self-driving car unit. The firm announced an initial investment of $275 Million initially, followed by $2 Billion within the year.