SoftBank, Toyota self-driving car venture to launch in SE Asia next year

A Toyota hybrid takes on the road. Photo: Pixabay

The self-driving car joint venture of SoftBank Corp and Toyota Motor plans to begin operating in Southeast Asia next year, in its first overseas foray, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

Monet, which is developing an on-demand self-driving service platform, is planning to export a basic version of the system, Chief Executive Junichi Miyakawa told Reuters.

“Our first step will likely be to Southeast Asia, as applications like transportation services in smart cities, or airport shuttle systems,” Miyakawa said, adding that Monet could begin introducing such services in 2020.

Monet is the first-ever alliance between Japan’s No. 3 telco and its largest automaker. SoftBank Corp, a unit of investment behemoth SoftBank Group Corp, is the largest shareholder in the venture, which was announced last October, with a 40.2% share, while Toyota owns 39.8%.

It plans to roll out on-demand bus and car services in Japan in the next year, and a platform to operate self-driving vehicles as early as 2023 based on Toyota’s boxy “e-palette” multi-purpose vehicle.

Honda Motor Co and Toyota’s truck making subsidiary Hino Motors took a roughly 10% stake each in the venture in March, and Miyakawa said that it would soon take more investment from the domestic auto industry.

“We’re planning to announce an expansion in our stakeholders sometime this month,” he said.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.