Japanese multinational automotive manufacturer, Toyota isn’t leaving the automotive market to chance as it plans to revs up its digital mapping subsidiary Woven Planet by hiring more people to work on mobility technology.
In the global shift of using artificial intelligence and robotic in everyday driving, this comes as a piece of gratifying news to lovers of the Toyota brand.
Woven Planet, owned by Toyota had on Thursday announced the acquisition of Seattle and New York based, CARMERA Inc, a company that specializes in sophisticated road mapping updates made cheaper and faster by using crowd–sourced information obtained in real time from millions of net-connected Toyota vehicles
Woven Planet Holdings Chief Executive, James Kuffnertalking about the automotive revolution of Toyota said:
“Toyota’s traditional strength in hardware is something we never want to lose. To make safe mobility we need both, great hardware and great software. The world is changing. The automotive industry is going through this once-in-a-hundred-year revolution. And so how do we remain relevant?”
Winning social acceptance for such technology is as much of a challenge as perfecting the software, Kuffner said.
“When a person crashes, we have empathy for that person. We all make mistakes, and we think: That could have been me. If a computer crashes, people have no empathy,” Kuffner said in an interview with The Associated Press from Portland, Oregon.
“Making a computer system that is just as good as a human may not be good enough,” said Kuffner,
Woven Planet had in April struck a deal, acquiring Level 5, of the self-driving division of Lyft, for $550 million. Once the deal gets approved, it will increase Woven Planet’s staff headcount from 860 to more than 1,000 people.
Kuffner is not done as he says he wants to possibly quadruple that number, while avoiding getting “too bloated or too bureaucratic.”
Despite the pandemic making companies have no option than to downsize, Toyota held up its quality and prefers to add up the numbers, while providing investment opportunities.
Tokyo based SBI Securities Auto analyst, Koji Endo opined that all major automakers are working on similar technologies, and no one is ahead of the pack.
In his words:
“We’re talking about two or three decades into the future, and so no one really knows for sure, to be honest. That’s why automakers are partnering or investing in several players to hedge their bets, but one thing is clear: No one wants to fall behind.”
Sourced from TOKYO (AP)