Toyota Motor Corp. invested $1 billion into Singapore-based tech company Grab. Grab offers ride-hailing, ride sharing and logistics services for Southeast Asian nations, providing Toyota with data on tens of thousands of cars tracking how fast they drive, how far they travel, and the time they spend stuck in traffic.
Toyota said it aims to install TransLog driving record devices to access data on driving patterns for its push into mobility-as-a-service industry. The Grab app monitors driving behavior for increased ride safety, and it will stand to gain more vehicle data since Toyota has been obtaining data through TransLog with taxi firms and car-hailing operators since 2016. The data will enable Toyota in its insight into fleet management as it dabbles in concepts such as pay-per-use mobile restaurants.
Toyota will gain access to single pool of vehicles allowing it to capture data difficult to collect from private cars, while Grab will be able to expand its services with Toyota’s $1 billion investment, the largest from a traditional automaker for a ride-sharing app developer. This deal shows automakers aim for access to ride-hailing firms’ user bases as they compete with tech companies to develop autonomous cars and future transport services. Toyota and Grab can collaborate to use the data for services such as vehicle diagnostics and customized insurance plans based on driver usage, while also helping Grab maintain efficiency in fleet maintenance with its expansion from the 200 cities they already operate in.
Toyota’s vision includes convoys of shuttle bus-sized self-driving multi-purpose cars used as pay-per-use mobile restaurants and hotels with plans to develop and customize for retail customers. Grab said it wants to build the region’s largest car rental fleet by the fourth quarter of 2018. These ride-hailing apps are dealing with vehicle maintenance costs and insurance costs for ride-hailing drivers, according to the chief executive of Vertex Venture Holdings in Singapore Chua Kee Lock.