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Toyota Expands Woven Mobility Universe

$800 million VC arm will invest in “growth-stage” tech companies
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“Mobility to Love, Safety to Live.”

That’s the motto of Toyota’s Woven Planet unit announced in July to oversee the carmaker’s advanced mobility research efforts.

Now Toyota is adding some financial wherewithal to help realize the vision with an $800 million global investment fund.

Early and Later

The new Woven Capital unit will expand upon Toyota’s current AI Ventures portfolio, which focuses on early-stage technologies, by investing in “growth-stage companies that are developing innovative technologies and business models.”

Focus areas include autonomous vehicle systems, automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, data and analytics, connectivity and smart cities.

"Woven Capital's investments will enable us to weave together a global portfolio of partners and technologies that will deliver long-term value to our customers, stakeholders and society,” explains James Kuffner, who will head Woven Planet and its three business units.

Big Bucks and Weave

In addition to the capital investment fund, the group includes Woven Alpha and Woven Core. The latter is essentially a renamed version of the carmaker’s current Toyota Research Institute – Advanced Development (TRI-AD) arm that was created in 2018. The unit will oversee the development and commercialization of Toyota’s automated driving systems.

Woven Alpha will focus on connectivity, onboard software and high-definition mapping. Initial products will include Arene, a new open automotive operating system that will enable “programmable cars,” a next-generation automated mapping platform for autonomous vehicles and Woven City.

Woven Planet and Woven Capital will be officially launched in January. All of the Woven companies will be based in Tokyo.

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