Japan's No. 1 automaker Toyota Motor and technology giant SoftBank Group are setting up a joint venture to create mobility services in what they called a "united Japan" effort to face global competition.
The 2 billion yen ($20 million) venture, Monet Technologies Corp. is meant to be running by the end of March.
It will work on on-demand vehicle services, food deliveries, data analysis and hospital shuttles with onboard medical exams, the companies said Thursday in a news conference at a Tokyo hotel.
"Many of you here may be asking why Toyota and SoftBank?" Toyota Chief Executive Akio Toyoda said of the odd-couple union of an old-style manufacturer with a relative newcomer like SoftBank.
The energy and telecoms company's past tie-ups have tended to be with overseas startups. But Softbank has also invested in leading car-sharing companies like Uber, Didi and Grab, and has acquired Arm, a leader in the Internet of Things, or IoT.
Toyoda stressed the auto industry was changing in an era of connected cars, autonomous driving, car-sharing and electric vehicles.
"We want to change," said Toyoda.
SoftBank Chairman Masayoshi Son said he was thrilled to be partnering with a top automaker on mobility and artificial intelligence, his company's expertise.
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