Uber Lands $1 Billion From Softbank, Toyota For Self-driving Cars

Uber lands $1 billion from SoftBank, Toyota for self-driving cars

SAN FRANCISCO — Uber's autonomous vehicle unit has raised $1 billion from a consortium of investors including SoftBank Group, giving the company a much-needed funding boost for its pricey self-driving ambitions on the eve of its public stock offering. Uber Technologies said on Thursday that the investment valued its Advanced Technologies Group, which works to develop autonomous driving technology, at $7.25 billion. SoftBank will invest $333 million from its $100 billion Vision Fund, while Toyota and automotive supplier Denso Corp will combined invest $667 million. Reuters had reported in March talks of the investment in ATG, which has locations in Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto. The funding allows Uber to transfer some of the substantial cost of developing self-driving cars onto outside investors. That is likely to appease some investor concerns over Uber's spending on the autonomous unit, which has topped $1 billion since the program started in 2016. The business unit brings in no meaningful revenue for Uber, which last year lost $3.03 billion. The company is not even offering free rides in the robot cars to passengers, like some of its rivals are, following a fatal crash last year in Arizona involving an Uber self-driving SUV. Uber released its IPO filing this month and is preparing to launch is "roadshow," when it will pitch its company prospective investors, the week of April 29, setting up for an early May debut on the New York Stock Exchange. Uber is expected to raise $10 billion at a $90 billion to $100 billion valuation, at least an 18 percent jump from its current $76 billion valuation. As part of the deal, ATG becomes its own legal entity but remains under the control of Uber with its financial performance folded into Uber's. A new ATG board will be formed, with six seats from Uber, one from SoftBank and one from Toyota. Eric Meyhofer, currently the head of ATG, will take the title of CEO and report to the new board. Such sizable deals are unusual for companies so close to an IPO, because bringing in large new investors changes the company's capital structure. The deal, however, will almost certainly require approval from the inter-agency regulatory group called the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). A law enacted last year expands that group's powers to review minority stakes by foreign investors in startups with certain sensitive technologies, and self-driving technology is widely considered to have defense applications. SoftBank's investment in General Motors' self-driving car unit Cruise is still under CFIUS review and is likely weeks away from a decision, even though that investment was announced more than a year ago.

Ministry Looking To Streamline Tech Updates For Self-driving Cars

Ministry looking to streamline tech updates for self-driving cars

The transport ministry is considering legislation to make it easier for automakers to update software in self-driving cars, along with a raft of provisions to prevent unwanted intrusions.

Under current laws, new technological developments such as automatic braking or lane changing, can only be updated on self-driving cars one unit at a time. Car owners then have to take their upgraded vehicle to inspection centers for a safety check confirmation before the technology can be used.

Waymo May Work On Self-driving Cars With Renault-nissan

Waymo May Work On Self-Driving Cars With Renault-Nissan


Waymo has already worked with the likes of Fiat Chrysler and Jaguar Land Rover on self-driving cars and is now said to be in talks about a potential partnership with the powerful Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance. According to reports Waymo, a division of Google’s parent company Alphabet, is in the “final phase” of talks with this alliance for a partnership on self-driving cars.

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance is quite powerful. Its global sales crossed 10.8 million automobiles last year so it can prove to be a resourceful partner for Waymo, a company that’s looking to put self-driving vehicles on the road for its autonomous taxi service.

Renault-nissan Reportedly Partnering With Waymo On Self-driving Cars

Renault-Nissan reportedly partnering with Waymo on self-driving cars

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance will tie up with Alphabet Inc's Waymo to develop autonomous taxis and other services using self-driving vehicles, the Nikkei reported on Tuesday. Google's self-driving car company Waymo will work with the carmakers and announce a plan for the arrangement as early as this spring, the business daily reported. The partners are considering the joint development of unmanned taxis using Nissan vehicles and a system that handles reservation and payments, Nikkei said. A spokesman at the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, Nick Twork, said, "This (Nikkei) story is based on rumors and speculation. We have nothing to announce." Waymo did not immediately reply to a request for comment. Last month, Nissan Motor Corp said its board remained committed to the carmaker's alliance with Renault SA and Mitsubishi Motors Corp, after directors met to discuss the ongoing investigation into former chairman Carlos Ghosn and ways to bolster governance.

Among the companies developing autonomous driving technology, Waymo is considered to be far in the lead in terms of test-fleet miles driven. It operates hundreds of vehicles in 25 U.S. locations, and is already operating a taxi service with paying customers in Chandler, Ariz.

Hyde's New Single To Include A Self Cover Of 'honey'

HYDE's new single to include a self cover of 'HONEY'

HYDE will release his new single "MAD QUALIA" on March 20. 

This is HYDE's second single of the year following "ZIPANG" released on February 6. It will include the title track, which was written as the image song for Capcom's action game 'Devil May Cry 5' and a self cover of L'Arc~en~Ciel's "HONEY."

Fujimaki Ryota To Release Self Cover Album

Fujimaki Ryota to release self cover album

Fujimaki Ryota will be covering Remioromen's songs for a self cover album (currently untitled) to be released this spring. 

For this album, Fujimaki will sing to his own accompaniment and will cover various Remioromen songs. He will also be taking fans' request to "discover a new charm of Remiorimen and make an album together with the listeners." You can vote which songs you want Fujimaki to cover here. 

Police To Study Cyber-attacks On Self-driving Cars

Police to study cyber-attacks on self-driving cars

Japanese police plan to launch a study on how to deal with possible cases of cyber-attacks on self-driving vehicles.

Japan's National Police Agency says it will begin the study in fiscal 2019 that starts next April, with the aim of establishing investigation methods for such crimes.

Road Traffic Law Draft To Allow For Self-driving

Road traffic law draft to allow for self-driving

Japan's National Police Agency on Thursday released a draft proposal of a revised road traffic law that for the first time includes provisions for self-driving automobiles.

The proposal is in line with the government's goal for practical operation by 2020 of autonomous vehicles on highways. That goal would have the person in the driver's seat leave all aspects of driving to the control system.

Hilcrhyme To Release Self-titled Album

Hilcrhyme to release self-titled album

Hilcrhyme will release a self-titled album on January 30. 

The album will feature 11 songs including "Namida no Tane, Shiawase no Hana," which is the theme song for drama 'Sakura no Oyakodon,' as well as the most recent song "Atarimae." The Limited Edition will come with one bonus track, and a DVD containing the PV for "Atarimae" and footage from Hilcrhyme's comeback live 'Hilcrhyme LIVE 2018: One Man.'

Golden Bomber's Kiryuin Sho To Release A Self-cover Album

Golden Bomber's Kiryuin Sho to release a self-cover album

Golden Bomber's Kiryuin Sho (Vo-karu) will release a self-cover album "Koshitsu Shisan" on December 5. 

For this album, Kiryuin will cover songs that he's provided to other artists, such as Daikoku Danji, Dancing Dolls, and Kishidan. In addition, it will include "America," which was performed as Kiryuin's solo debut song back in 2013. As the bonus track, the album will include a cover of MUCC's "Brilliant World."

Honda Invests $2.75 Billion In Gm's Cruise For Self-driving Cars

Honda Invests $2.75 Billion In GM's Cruise For Self-Driving Cars

One of the largest car manufacturers in the world, Honda, is teaming up with Cruise Automation on self-driving cars. Cruise Automation is the self-driving subsidiary of General Motors. The two companies will collaborate on a purpose-built self-driving car that can be useful in many different scenarios and will be easy to produce at scale for a global release. Honda is contributing $2.75 billion for this project.

Toyota Could Invest $500 Million Into Uber's Self-driving Technology

Toyota Could Invest $500 Million Into Uber's Self-Driving Technology

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There are many transportation companies that are working towards developing self-driving cars. However many of them seem to be working independently from each other, which admittedly probably isn’t as efficient, although not surprising since we imagine that these companies would want to keep their technological advances a secret.

Baidu Self-driving Buses To Launch In Japan Next Year

Baidu Self-Driving Buses To launch In Japan Next Year


Chinese tech giant Baidu has been working on its own self-driving technology and the company is now reportedly gearing up to launch its self-driving buses in Japan next year. Baidu’s Apolong fully self-driving bus has been developed in collaboration with Chinese manufacturer King Long and it will be first rolled out in a handful of Chinese cities before it lands in Japan.

Bloomberg reports that Baidu has ramped up the production of the Apolong bus which is the first product based on its Apollo self-driving platform. The company aims to ship the first batch of buses to Japan early next year in partnership with a subsidiary owned by Japan’s SoftBank conglomerate. Over 100 buses have already been produced at the plant in southern China.