Panasonic and Toyota pool home and car tech in ‘smart town’ joint venture
Japanese firms Panasonic and Toyota have agreed to form a new smart cities joint-venture that combines the former’s expertise in the home gadgetry market and the latter’s work in the mobility space.
The two companies will integrate their respective housing businesses, as part of the new 50/50 joint venture. Their conjoined housing businesses are “the core” of the new joint venture, they said. The deal is focused on the “town development business”, they added.
Panasonic is entering its “lifestyle updates” initiatives into the new pact, around its home appliances and equipment. Toyota is offering its work with new transport technologies and systems, which goes under the acronym CASE, capturing trends in ‘connected’ and ‘autonomous’ vehicles, ride-‘sharing’, and ‘electrification’.
“Both companies are committed to contributing to the realisation of more attractive towns, making use of Panasonic’s knowledge and digital technology related to living, and Toyota’s expertise in mobility,” they said.
Kazuhiro Tsuga, president of Panasonic, commented: “In the future, in addition to hardware, the provision of improved services supported by technology will assume a more important role in town development. Toyota has been leading the mobility field, and Panasonic has long been serving lifestyle needs of people. We will put our respective strengths together to offer new value in everyday life.”
Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota, said: “From here on out, information will link all items and services that support people’s daily lives thanks to the development of CASE… Working from the concept of ‘connected cities’… will become important. To realise this, it is important to have a spirit of cooperation with friends and allies, while sharing goals regarding [the] future we want to create.”
He added: “I want to take on the challenge of providing a new kind of lifestyle, based on the spirit of always wanting to be better and better, while bringing together the strengths of Toyota and Panasonic.”
Late last year, Toyota and SoftBank agreed a joint venture to create new mobility services and corrdinate Toyota’s connected vehicles platform and SoftBank’s internet of things platform.
Earlier this month, Toyota’s Silicon Valley-based venture capital arm Toyoya AI Ventues announced a new $100 million fund for early-stage startups in the autonomous mobility and robotics markets.
“Auto manufacturers must participate in the startup ecosystem to stay ahead of the rapid shift in the auto industry,” said Jim Adler, managing director of Toyota AI Ventures. “Investing in startups creates long-term relationships that help Toyota explore the latest innovations in mobility.”