Softbank, Toyota ink deal to create mobility services JV
The JV, dubbed MONET, aims to create a mobility-as-a-service business unit in 2020
Japanese firms Toyota and SoftBank have agreed to form a strategic partnership to facilitate the creation of new mobility services, and plan to establish a joint venture company, MONET Technologies Corporation, before April 2019.
MONET will provide coordination between Toyota’s mobility services platform and information infrastructure for connected vehicles and SoftBank’s internet of things platform.
SoftBank will own 50.25% of the joint venture, while Toyota will own the remaining 49.75%.
By utilizing a wide range of different forms of data related to automotive and human mobility on both platforms, MONET aims to to optimize supply and demand in transportation and to launch Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) businesses.
For the first phase of the joint initiative, MONET plans to roll out just-in-time vehicle dispatch services for local public agencies and private companies throughout Japan. These services, which will include on-demand transportation through regional partnerships and corporate shuttles, will be provided “in tune with user demand,” according to the two companies.
By the second half of the 2020, MONET plans to roll out autonomous mobility-as-a-service businesses using e-Palette, Toyota’s dedicated battery electric vehicle for mobility services that can be used for various purposes, including mobility, logistics, and sales.
Possibilities include demand-focused, just-in-time mobility services, such as meal deliveries vehicle where food is prepared while on the move, hospital shuttles where onboard medical examinations can be performed and mobile offices, the companies said.
MONET also intends to roll out these businesses in Japan with an eye to future expansion on the global market, the firms added.
“This may look like an unusual combination,” said SoftBank’s executive in charge of technology, Junichi Miyakawa. “But Japan must compete with the rest of the world. That is why we are shaking hands today.”
“Many of you here may be asking why Toyota and SoftBank?” Toyota Chief Executive Akio Toyoda said. Toyoda stressed that the auto industry is changing, in an era of connected cars, autonomous driving, car-sharing and electric vehicles.