No less than five Japanese car manufacturer have joined the self-driving car joint venture between SoftBank Corp and Toyota, Reuters reports.
According to sources, Mazda, Suzuki, Subaru, Isuzu, and Daihatsu will each take a stake of two per cent in the venture dubbed Monet. None of the new automakers wished to comment on the issue.
Monet, first announced back in October 2018, is developing an on-demand self-driving service platform and, in March, received investments from Honda and Hino Motors, bringing the total investment up to $23.2 million at the time. It remains to be seen how much the five new partners plan on investing in the venture, but it is reported that Softbank and Toyota each own 35 per cent in the company while Honda and Hino each have a 10 per cent stake.
Not only does Monet hope to ensure Japanese car manufacturers efficiently ride the move towards autonomous vehicles, but earlier this month, it was revealed that the venture intends on launching a basic version of its service in Southeast Asia in 2020. It also wants to introduce on-demand bus and car services in Japan next year.
It is believed that future autonomous vehicles from Toyota will be a central piece of the Monet service and be based around the company’s e-Palette concept car unveiled at CES in early 2018. This concept was designed to be used for a number of different services, including as a means of transportation for ride-share users as well as a delivery vehicle.