Toyota, Panasonic Forming JV for “Connected” Homes, Cars
Toyota Motor Corp. and Panasonic Corp. say they will merge their town development businesses in January into a joint venture that will develop connected services for homes and vehicles.
Called Prime Life Technologies Corp., the new company will apply Internet of Things technology to integrate household devices with advanced personal mobility services. the companies say that Mitsui & Co. may become an equity participant in the Tokyo-based venture.
The companies predict that new approaches to personal mobility, coupled with dramatically expanded connectivity, will redefine the attractiveness of cities in terms of service infrastructure rather than location.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda says his aim for the venture is to provide “a new kind of lifestyle” for “smart” cities that involves connected cars, public transportation and housing. Panasonic President Kazuhiro Tsuga says the partnership will “offer new value in everyday life.”
Aptiv plc is launching a fleet of 30 autonomous vehicles that will operate as part of Lyft Inc.’s ride-hailing network in Las Vegas.
Toyota Motor Corp. is encouraging employees at its research and development center near Ann Arbor, Mich., to participate in an on-going program there to test connected vehicle technologies.
Continental, an automotive supplier that has a deep engineering bench, is making a huge organizational change, one that Dr. Elmar Degenhart, chairman of the executive board, explains is necessary because, as he puts it, “The industry is changing at a high pace, so we have to change, too.”