Toyota Mulls Carsharing Models for Autonomous Vehicles

  • Natalie Mattila
  • March 20, 2017

Toyota concept car

Toyota Research Institute is looking into various opportunities within the mobility landscape, with an eye toward developing a rideshare service or subscription model that will make autonomous cars more affordable, said Ryan Eustice, vice president of autonomous driving at Toyota Motor Corp.’s Silicon Valley-based research facility.

There are new opportunities when considering the finance model of autonomous cars, particularly as it relates to mobility-as-a-service, he said.

For example, rather than selling or financing cars directly to consumers, there are opportunities for automakers to implement subscription-based models — where consumers can pay a per-month or per-mile fee for autonomous vehicles — or finance the vehicles for rideshare service providers.

Rideshare offers “a whole new dimension to think about in mobility,” Eustice said, and it “becomes a new model that we can begin to explore” within autonomy.

Toyota has already crept into the rideshare industry through partnerships with Uber and Getaround, an online peer-to-peer carsharing service. Both programs allow Toyota Financial Services’ borrowers to directly use income from these services to pay off their vehicles.

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