Toyota and Panasonic Announces Joint Venture on Smart Homes

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Toyota and other global automobile manufacturers have been heavily doing investments in new technologies that connect vehicles to household devices

Japanese companies Toyota and Panasonic announced that they are teaming up to form a new joint venture (JV) with the purpose of creating connected services for homes and urban development.

The JV will likely to come up early next year and will combine Toyota’s development unit Toyota Housing and its construction arm Misawa Homes with Panasonic Homes. The focus of JV will be on technology that will enable the two companies to provide personalised services in the home.

Both companies will have equal share in the new business and will also enhance cooperation at their respective housing operations in Japan.

Looking for possibilities to expand

Addressing to the media, Akio Toyota, President, Toyota, said, “If we are able to use this network going forward not only to manufacture and sell vehicles but to also provide new services, our future possibilities will greatly expand. In addition to cars, I think that having our own housing business and connected business will be a big advantage for us.”

Toyota and other global automobile manufacturers have been heavily doing investments in new technologies that connect vehicles to household devices and road infrastructure through internet.

The JV with Panasonic, having specialisation in connected home appliances and batteries, could yield the technology breakthroughs that would help Toyota in competing against Google, Tesla and Uber.

In recent years, Toyota has been looking for tech opportunities. The company is making robots that can assist with health care and household works, as well as venturing into ride-sharing business.

The announcement by Toyota and Panasonic comes at a time when the automotive industry has been affected by rising competition from lower-emission vehicles and from ride sharing services such as Lyft and Uber. This has led automakers to look for alternate streams of revenue in other sectors.

Earlier, in January, the two companies announced a separate JV to develop batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) by combining the Toyota’s strength in R&D and manufacturing with Panasonic’s strength in batteries.

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