Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. are looking to become the next Uber or Lyft, with an emphasis on self-driving car technologies.
The future is inherently now as companies vie to become the first to make self-driving cars mainstream. The latest venture, Monet Technologies Corp., will launch ride-hailing services for Japanese public agencies and private companies, with plans to use autonomous vehicles by 2020. To be clear, Monet won’t develop the cars, but will focus heavily on business applications to use them. And if all goes well, the next step is to expand globally, becoming the ideal chauffeur for meetings.
This will help put the corporation on par with others that have already pushed the envelope in the self-driving industry. Autonomous models already being tested include General Motor Co.’s Cruise unit and Waymo from Alphabet Inc.’s Google, which announced this week that it reached 10 million miles on the road (with a test driver behind the wheel). Uber Technologies Inc. and Tesla Inc. have also announced moving forward into the sector.
Just last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed a pilot to start testing the vehicles in real-world scenarios. This follows the NHTSA’s release of the Automated Vehicles 3.0 voluntary guidelines that outlines the U.S. Department of Transportation’s move towards updating its current safety standards to include autonomous vehicles.
Needless to say, meeting planners may soon be using self-driving cars to drive attendees in no time.