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Toyota, Uber to partner on self-driving tech amid licence feud

Which is on the top of the to do list for Uber? Developing self-driving technology or ensuring its licence renewal in yet another City?

By April Slattery

Ride-hailing app Uber is reportedly in talks with Toyota regarding self-driving technology within Toyota vehicles.

The two companies are said to be in talks to negotiate a deal for Toyota to use Uber’s autonomous technology in one of its minivan models, according to the Nikkei.

Toyota has already announced it will be pushing its artificial intelligence (AI) taxi fleet, in partnership with Japan Taxi and telecommunications carrier KDDI to bring the technology to market quicker. However, working with Uber to gain the expertise in self-driving technology can quicken this process.

Uber has already carried out trials in the US with autonomous vehicles, working with Volvo cars. At the start of the year Toyota said it would work with Uber to develop a self-driving system for services such as parcel delivery, hence why the company is looking to embed the technology into minivans.Toyota, Uber to partner on self-driving tech amid licence feud

Other car manufacturers and technology companies are tapping into the technology, in a race to be the first to produce a fully autonomous vehicle for public use. The likes of Waymo, Intel and Baidu are exploring the capabilities of self-driving systems.

In addition to furthering the partnership with Toyota, Uber has other things on its to do list as Birmingham ponders on whether to renew the ride-hailing app’s licence in the West Midlands city.

The city is seeking clarity on Uber’s business model, before deciding whether to renew its licence to operate permanently whilst a temporary extension has been made. The concerns have risen following a long series of events including the loss of its licence in the Capital, York and Sheffield.

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“Officers in our Licensing team have temporarily extended Uber’s private hire operator license in Birmingham, whilst they seek clarity from Uber around its operating model,” said the council’s Acting Director of Regulation and Enforcement Chris Neville.

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In a bid to win over London, and other cities alike, Uber has made significant changes to its business model. New safety initiatives have been put in place for drivers and riders, providing a 24/7 telephone support line and working with the London police force for reporting crime. Other changes Uber has made include making data more open, to enable better services, which coincides with Transport for London’s (TfL) new data standards. Other elements

The company has said it has been renewed licences across other cities in the UK, including Nottingham, Cambridge and Leicester. Uber’s licence is set to expire in Edinburgh next week, could that bring more bad news for the company?

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