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Toyota acquires Lyft self-driving division

Toyota acquires Lyft self-driving division
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Toyota's Woven Planet announced Tuesday that it has acquired Lyft's self-driving division, Level 5, in a $550 million deal.

In a news release, the Toyota subsidiary said that the deal would "bring together world-class scientists and software engineers" from Woven Planet, Level 5 and Toyota's own research division.

"The resulting combined 'dream team' of approximately 1,200 will represent one of the most diverse, well-resourced and talented groups in this field," according to a statement by Woven Planet.

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The purchase will also "accelerate the safety and commercialization of the automated-driving technology that Woven Planet will develop," the company said.

CEOs for Lyft and Woven Planet said in statements that the agreement represented the beginning of a partnership on the development of autonomous vehicles, a sphere being explored by several companies in the U.S. but not yet available for commercial drivers.

"Today’s announcement launches Lyft into the next phase of an incredible journey to bring our mission to life. Lyft has spent nine years building a transportation network that is uniquely capable of scaling autonomous vehicles. This deal brings together the vision, talent, resources and commitment to advance clean, autonomous mobility on a global scale," said Logan Green, Lyft's CEO.

Lyft's largest U.S. competitor, Uber, sold its own autonomous driving division to a startup called Aurora in December while investing $400 million in the company at the same time. Uber's CEO also joined the company's board of directors.

Other U.S. tech firms including Tesla and Google are also exploring autonomous driving technology.

Earlier this month, a Tesla vehicle traveling in Texas crashed, killing two passengers. While investigators said that initial evidence suggested that no one was in the driver's seat at the time of the crash, Tesla's CEO Elon MuskElon Reeve Musk'SNL' star Michael Che 'stunned' by cultural appropriation backlash over sketch Elon Musk asks Twitter followers if Tesla should accept Dogecoin Dogecoin drops after Elon Musk calls it a 'hustle' on 'Saturday Night Live' MORE has contended that the car in question did not have Tesla's Autopilot system, which performs some driving maneuvers but requires human input.