Honda and Hino join SoftBank and Toyota mobility venture

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Japanese automakers Honda and Hino are teaming up for a partnership between SoftBank and Toyota for mobility advantages including self-driving cars.

SoftBank Corp. and Toyota Motor announced a joint venture for mobility services in 2018, in what they called a “united Japan” effort to deal with the worldwide competition.

Honda Motor, Toyota’s competitor, and Hino Motors, Toyota’s truck division, stated Thursday each company will obtain a 9.9 percent stake in the 2 billion yen ($20 million) Toyota-SoftBank venture Monet Technologies.

Each company invests $250 million yen ($2.3 million), the companies stated.

Toyota and SoftBank also stated Thursday a Monet Consortium, that includes partnerships with 88 other companies, consisting Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan and East Japan Railway, to strengthen mobility services.

Philips Japan, a health technology company, developer Mitsubishi Estate and Yahoo Japan have also agreed to participate in the alliance.

Technology experts state benefits in artificial intelligence and sensors are opening up the potential for autonomous driving and other mobility services, although safety concerns remain a significant obstacle.

Honda President Takahiro Hachigo stated working with Monet will include attempts to realize regulatory changes.

“Honda is willing to contribute to the revitalization of the mobility service industry in Japan and solve traffic-related problems facing Japanese society,” he stated.

Yoshio Shimo, Hino president, stated the move was part of the company’s continued efforts to transport goods and people.

“Through this partnership, we will strive to achieve our vision of making a world where people and goods move freely, safely and efficiently,” stated Shimo.

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