A consortium of investors including SoftBank Group and Toyota Motor have announced their plans to invest $1bn in Uber’s newly formed self-driving unit Advanced Technologies Group.

With the investment, the self-driving unit is now valued at $7.25bn.

SoftBank will invest $333m, while Toyota and DENSO will provide a total of $667m.

In August 2018, Toyota invested $500m in Uber. The two firms had then announced their intention to bring pilot-scale deployments of automated Toyota Sienna-based ridesharing vehicles to the Uber ridesharing network in 2021.

This programme would leverage the strengths of Uber ATG’s self-driving technology and Toyota’s Guardian advanced safety support system.

This investment expands the companies’ collaboration in designing and developing next-generation autonomous vehicle hardware.

Furthermore, the investment is seen as a way of helping companies and the industry prepare for mass production and commercialisation of automated ridesharing vehicles and services.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said: “This investment and our strong partnership with the Toyota Group are a testament to the incredible work of our ATG team to date, and the exciting future ahead for this important project, alongside great partners.

“The development of automated driving technology will transform transportation as we know it, making our streets safer and our cities more liveable.”

“The development of automated driving technology will transform transportation as we know it, making our streets safer and our cities more liveable. Today’s announcement, along with our ongoing OEM and supplier relationships, will help maintain Uber’s position at the forefront of that transformation.”

Toyota executive vice president and Toyota’s in-house Connected Company president Shigeki Tomoyama said: “Toyota is dedicated to realising a safe and secure future mobility society. Leveraging the strengths of Uber ATG’s autonomous vehicle technology and service network and the Toyota Group’s vehicle control system technology, mass-production capability, and advanced safety support systems, such as Toyota Guardian, will enable us to commercialise safer, lower cost automated ridesharing vehicles and services.

“We believe that the combined work of Toyota, DENSO, and Uber ATG on developing next-generation autonomous vehicle hardware will accelerate the timeline for and early success of automated ridesharing services.”

SoftBank Vision Fund CEO Rajeev Misra said: “The team at Uber ATG has made significant progress developing highly robust automated ridesharing technology. With a comprehensive platform of hardware and software, the largest global ridesharing network and Toyota’s partnership, this collaboration is well-positioned to deploy automated ridesharing services at scale.”

Toyota will also contribute up to another $300m over the next three years to cover the costs associated with these activities.

The deal is expected to close in Q3 of this year.