Honda and Japanese commercial vehicles brand Hino announced Thursday they are joining the mobility company Monet established by Toyota and Japanese investment firm SoftBank last October.
Monet, whose name is a portmanteau of “mobility” and “network,” will initially offer a ride-hail service in Japan for several public agencies and partner companies. However, as early as 2020, the company will launch an autonomous delivery service based around Toyota's e-Palette, a self-driving shuttle bus that was shown in concept form in early 2018.
Honda and Hino each paid about $2.27 million for a 9.998-percent stake in Monet. Toyota owns 39.802 percent while SoftBank owns the remaining 40.202 percent. SoftBank owns substantial stakes in various ride-hail companies, including a 17.5-percent stake in Uber. The company is also a key investor in GM Cruise, the self-driving company of General Motors, and is reportedly in talks to invest into Uber's self-driving unit.
Monet CEO Junichi Miyakawa explained the benefits of having Honda and Hino as partners in a statement.
“This partnership will allow us to coordinate the vehicle data on passenger and object mobility that Hino collects from its trucks and buses and the data Honda obtains from its mobility services that utilize passenger cars and other vehicles so we can further evolve the Monet platform,” he said. “By integrating these wide and varied datasets, Monet will build an advanced [mobility as a service] platform that helps enable an autonomous driving society and realizes safe and comfortable mobility services to enrich people’s lives.”