Japan’s NTT To Invest In US Driverless Car Start-Up

Japan’s Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) telecommunications operator confirmed it plans to invest some 10 billion yen ($66.9m, £54m) in US-based driverless car start-up May Mobility that is backed by Toyota Motor.

NTT said it would test May Mobility’s driverless vehicle technology with Toyota, beginning with autonomous buses and taxis as early as 2025.

The company told Reuters it saw growing momentum behind self-driving technology in Japan.

The Nikkei newspaper first reported NTT’s planned investment in the Michigan-based start-up, which plans to ready its technology in about two years’ time.

Image credit: Cruise

Driverless development

May Mobility last year attracted investment from Tokio Marine, which joined a $111m funding round, while a Toyota-linked venture capital unit co-led a seed investment in the start-up in 2018.

Honda last month said it planned to set up a joint venture with General Motors and its automated car firm Cruise.

Honda said at the time it wanted to begin a driverless ride service in Japan in 2026.

Cruise suspended all driverless vehicle operations in the US in late October after the state of California ordered the company’s driverless taxis removed from San Francisco streets after a pedestrian was dragged under a Cruise vehicle’s wheels in an accident.

Safety concerns

The state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) cited safety concerns.

It said the Cruise vehicle had struck a pedestrian during the course of a hard-braking manoeuvre, and then, after coming to a complete stop, subsequently attempted to pull over to the side of the road, dragging the pedestrian about 20 feet.

Cruise said the scenario had not been encountered before and was due to an unexpected confluence of factors.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

Recent Posts

Nvidia Overtakes Microsoft As Most Valuable Tech Firm

Nvidia dethrones Microsoft as world's most valuable tech firm, in ongoing market capitalisation battle of…

3 hours ago

Apple Drops ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Service

Apple sunsets its buy now, pay later service known as 'Apple Pay Later', and will…

4 hours ago

Microsoft Xbox Marketing Chief Leaves For Roblox

Microsoft loses Xbox marketing chief amidst executive changes in company's gaming division, broader layoffs and…

1 day ago

YouTube Test Community ‘Notes’ Feature For Added Context

YouTube begins testing Notes feature that allows selected users to add contextual information to videos,…

1 day ago

FTC Sues Adobe Over Hidden Fees, Termination ‘Resistance’

US regulator sues Photoshop maker Adobe over large, hidden termination fees, intentionally difficult cancellation process

1 day ago

Tencent To Ban AI Avatars From Livestream Commerce

Chinese tech giant Tencent to ban AI hosts from livestream video platform as it looks…

1 day ago