By on May 7, 2021

Woven Planet

Toyota’s Woven Planet Holdings has acquired Level 5, Lyft’s self-driving unit. Woven Planet’s deal brings scientists, software engineers, and researchers together as one.

Last year, we detailed the launch of Woven, but since that time they’ve been relatively quiet until now. Woven has put together engineers, research scientists, and mobility services experts. They’ve amassed sensing, computing, and software assets, to go along with automated driving system capabilities.

Woven Planet

The company is growing beyond its headquarters in Tokyo to include teams in Palo Alto, California, and London, UK. Besides Level 5, Lyft agreed to the use of their data to fast track the autonomous technology Woven Planet is developing. Lyft’s vast system and fleet data will make Woven commercially viable that much faster, according to the company.

Lyft received $550 million in cash, with $200 million paid upfront, and the balance paid over five years.

Woven Planet

“This acquisition advances our mission to develop the safest mobility in the world at scale. The Woven Planet team, alongside the team of researchers at TRI, have already established a center of excellence for software development and technology in the Toyota Group,” said James Kuffner, Woven Planet’s CEO.

“Bringing Level 5’s world-class engineers and experts into the fold—as well as additional technology resources—will allow us to have even greater speed and impact. This deal will be key in weaving together the people, resources, and infrastructure that will help us to transform the world.”

Woven Planet

Lyft’s CEO, Logan Green stated, “Lyft has spent nine years building a network capable of scaling autonomous vehicles. This brings together the vision, talent, resources and commitment.”

Woven Planet’s mission is to combine Silicon Valley culture with Japanese craftsmanship to develop mobility solutions. The acquisition accelerates Woven’s ability to advance technology. We wonder whose responsibility it will be to plug in the autonomous EV, the brain onboard, or yours?

[Images: Toyota]

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7 Comments on “Toyota Subsidiary Woven Acquires Lyft Autonomous Division...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Level 5” is certainly an aspirational name for a vaporware company. The simulated office images are ridiculous.

    Lyft can put that $550 million to better use than Toyota will with their acquisition.

  • avatar

    Am I the only one who barfs a little bit seeing these “office” photos?

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Same. The skateboard theme, the presenter instructing his disciples, and the airy work space are all barf-worthy.

      Instead, I see a startup that has time to generate faux images of *its own office*, rather than describe what their output will be – or is. “Transforming the world” isn’t it.

      It’s interesting that Toyota is withholding complete payment for 5 years. Maybe they are looking for a way out of paying for a dud.

      • 0 avatar

        This is just Japanese imagination gone wild in trying to dream up Japanese take on Silicon Valley ambiance. It is pipe dream. Nothing like that can exist in Japan. There is no space, too many tightly packed employees working 80 hours a week and, yes, space is too expensive and offices are in big cities in high rises.

  • avatar

    Even the best self-driving technology can’t handle ordinary driving scenarios like moderate to severe weather.

    Take away the lines on a snow-covered 3 lane interstate and thank you for playing, sorry, but the human needs to drive. That seems simple to us when in reality this is extremely difficult to resolve with code.

    Lyft and Uber are both gamblings on self-driving technology negating drivers to make their business model viable.

    The fact that Lyft sold their division indicates to me where they felt self-investment was going.

    The fact Toyota bought the technology tells me that they have something more than vaporware.

    If the investment can make the full-speed stop-start cruise control less useless in Toyota products, that in itself is a win.*

    * Toyota system keeps to large of a gap so cars pull in front. The system goes, “oh no car pulled in front of me,” and slows down more, resulting in more cars pulling in front, and more slow downs. Beyond a light traffic scenario, it is useless.

  • avatar

    Re: that last pic….is that supposed to be “SNOW”, or “MONS”?

    • 0 avatar

      I would guess snow – snow is a huge challenge for self driving cars. Once the lane markers disappear on a multilane road or interstate you need to move to best guest. A ton of variables the brain processes without think that lines of code have to consider.

      It is harder to teach a car to drive itself in a snowstorm than land a reusable rocket booster vertically on a target landing pad. Pretty mind-blowing to think that driving a car is literally harder than rocket science – yet our gray matter is, “I got this.”

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