Japan’s Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) is planning to conduct tests of driverless vehicle technology in collaboration with Toyota Motor and invest in a U.S. startup that’s developing self-driving systems. NTT intends to initiate tests with autonomous buses and taxis by 2025 and is set to invest approximately 10 billion yen (about $66.91 million) in the U.S. startup May Mobility, signaling the increasing interest in self-driving technology in Japan.
May Mobility has previously attracted investments from Japanese companies, with insurer Tokio Marine participating in a $111 million funding round last year. Additionally, a Toyota-linked venture capital unit co-led a seed investment in the company back in 2018.
While the initial report suggested joint vehicle development between NTT and Toyota, both companies clarified that they have no such plans for joint development. Toyota declined to provide further comments on the matter.
This move by NTT follows Honda Motor’s announcement in October, indicating its intention to establish a joint venture with General Motors and its autonomous ride service firm, Cruise. Honda aims to launch a driverless ride service in Japan by early 2026.
In the same month, Cruise temporarily halted all its autonomous vehicle operations in the United States due to an accident, which led to orders from California regulators to remove its self-driving cars from state roads.