The development underscores a growing trend of consolidation among communications, automakers and technology companies as they grapple with the massive investment and software expertise required to develop new services for which demand has yet to be tested.
On Thursday, Japan’s Honda Motor Co and truckmaker Hino Motors Ltd stated they join a joint venture of SoftBank Group Corp and Toyota Motor Corp that aims to develop self-driving car services.
Under an agreement, Honda and Hino, in which Toyota owns a majority stake, would each invest around $2.27 million (250 million yen) in the joint venture, Monet Technologies, and take 10% stakes in the venture, said Monet.
SoftBank and Toyota had formed the joint venture in 2018.
Monet Technologies plan on rolling out a platform to operate self-driving vehicles in the later half of the 2020s based on Toyota’s “e-palette”, a boxy multi-purpose vehicle which can be used for on-demand mobile shops, offices and other services.
The new investment from Hino and Honda would leave SoftBank with a 40.2% stake in Monet, down from just over 50% when the venture was formed. Toyota will hold a 39.8% stake.
($1 = 110.1700 yen)