The Fuse

This Week in AVs: Softbank, Toyota AV venture adds more automakers; Mobility Leaders Publish AV Safety Framework; and More

by Stefan Broekhuizen | July 03, 2019

SoftBank, Toyota’s self-driving car venture to add five more automakers

Japanese automakers Mazda, Suzuki, Subaru, Isuzu and Toyota subsidiary Daihatsu will invest in Monet Technologies, an autonomous vehicle joint venture headed by SoftBank Corp and Toyota.

Japanese automakers Mazda, Suzuki, Subaru, Isuzu and Toyota subsidiary Daihatsu will invest in Monet Technologies, an autonomous vehicle joint venture headed by SoftBank Corp and Toyota. The five new investors will each receive a two percent stake in Monet, short for “mobility network,” which was first announced in October 2018. Monet has already received funding from Honda and Hino Motors, another Toyota subsidiary, with SoftBank and Toyota remaining the largest stakeholders. Monet is crafting an on-demand AV service platform with three main business domains: on-demand mobility services, data-analysis services, and Autono-MaaS, an amalgamation of “Autonomous vehicle” and “Mobility as a Service.” This injection of investments represents the latest collaboration among automakers in an industry that is increasingly trending toward such partnerships, as car manufacturers attempt to bear the high costs of developing AV technology by working together.

Mobility Industry Leaders Publish First-of-its-Kind Framework for Safe Automated Driving Systems
A group of 11 companies in the automotive and AV technology spheres published a white paper on Tuesday outlining a framework for the development, testing, and validation of safe driverless vehicles. The paper, titled “Safety First for Automated Driving” (SaFAD), is the largest report of its kind to date; at 146 pages, SaFAD is the first report to offer a system for clear traceability that demonstrates AVs are “safer than the average driver.” Representatives from the participating companies plan to present their findings at technology and industry conferences over the coming months.Aptiv, Audi, Baidu, BMW, Continental, Daimler, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Here, Infineon, Intel, and Volkswagen collaborated on the report, and the group has stated that they consider SaFAD “a living document that will continue to grow,” with the potential for additional companies to contribute. For the emerging automation industry, SaFAD signals progress toward the formation and implementation of universal standards for AV testing, development, and safety.

China issues T4 licenses to Baidu as driverless car tests begin on public roads
Chinese internet and AI company Baidu announced Monday it has received T4 licenses from the Chinese government to test its AVs on public roads in Beijing. Baidu is the first company in China to receive T4 level licenses, which correspond to Level 4 automation as defined by the Society of Automation Engineers (SAE). The T4 license is the hardest open road test qualification in China, signifying a vehicle’s ability to drive autonomously on complex urban roads. With it, Baidu will deploy its vehicles in a closed pilot zone in Beijing’s southern Yizhuang district. Baidu recently released Apollo 5.0, an effort to support volume production for geo-fenced autonomous driving and the latest update of the company’s open source AV software. Its landmark acquisition of T4 licensing indicates the rapidity with which AV testing is progressing toward developers’ eventual goal of large-scale deployment on public roads.

TechCrunch Mobility: Amitai Bin-Nun, SAFE’s Vice President of Autonomous Vehicles, will be attending TechCrunch Mobility in San Jose, CA on July 10.

Asilomar: Robbie Diamond, SAFE’s CEO, will be speaking at the 17th Asilomar Biennial Conference on Transportation Energy and Policy in Monterey, CA on July 11.

AVS: Amitai Bin-Nun will be moderating the “Shark Tank” session from 1:30-5 on July 15th at the Automated Vehicle Symposium in Orlando, FL, which will discuss provocative topics such as whether lower levels of automation can provide the safety benefits of AVs, whether AVs will compete with regional airlines, and how AVs will impact urbanization. Greg Rogers, SAFE’s Director of Government Relations will be attending AVS as well. AVS runs from July 15-18 in Orlando Florida.

Come say hi! If you’d like to schedule a meeting with SAFE staff and leadership at these events, please reach out to Amitai Bin-Nun at