The cash influx will likely be good news for CFO Nelson Chai. Last week, Uber hired the new chief financial officer, filling a position that had been left open since 2015. The company's continued losses are expected to be a challenge for Chai as Uber moves towards an IPO next year.
Update: The deal is official. As expected, Toyota confirmed it will invest $500 million in Uber, and said in a press release that "This agreement and investment marks an important milestone in our transformation to a mobility company as we help provide a path for safe and secure expansion of mobility services like ride-sharing that includes Toyota vehicles and technologies." Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said "Our goal is to deploy the world's safest self-driving cars on the Uber network, and this agreement is another significant step towards making that a reality. Uber's advanced technology and Toyota's commitment to safety and its renowned manufacturing prowess make this partnership a natural fit. I look forward to seeing what our teams accomplish together."
Specifically, their agreement will create an "Autono-MaaS" (autonomous-mobility as a service) fleet based on Toyota's Sienna minivan. Using Uber's self-driving tech and Toyota's Guardian system, they claim it will enhance vehicle safety. It sounds like a better plan than Uber''s previous test with Volvo, where enabling its self-driving tech meant disabling built-in assists that could have helped avoid a crash like the one that killed a pedestrian. The plan is to start "pilot-scale" deployments on Uber's network in 2021.