Toyota is now offering a Mobility Services Platform (MSPF) to support emerging mobility services like carsharing.
Toyota is using the platform to collaborate with service providers and telematics insurance carriers. The MSPF will support mobility services and leverage the Toyota Smart Center (TSC), the Toyota Big Data Center, and financial services, according to the company’s press release.
Toyota developed a Smart Key Box (SKB) that can be placed in a vehicle’s dashboard without modification. Carsharing users can lock and unlock doors, and start the engine with their smartphone. It will provide a safer and more secure way of lending and renting cars, Toyota said.
“As a mobility service platform provider, by collaborating with various companies and services, we would like to help create a new mobility society in order to offer safer and more convenient mobility to our customers,” Shigeki Tomoyama, president of Toyota’s in-house Connected Company, in the press release.
Toyota has been in the process of developing individual business functions, such as vehicle management systems and leasing programs, and is offering them to mobility service providers. In May, Toyota and ride-hailing giant Uber forged an alliance that will create new leasing options. Car buyers can lease their vehicles from Toyota Financial Services and cover their payments through earnings generated as Uber drivers.
Toyota created another alliance tied to the launch of MSPF with U.S. carsharing company Getaround. The two companies will start a pilot program in January 2017 in San Francisco.
To support this collaboration, the Mirai Creation Investment Limited Partnership, a fund in which Toyota participates, provided strategic investment to Getaround in October. During the pilot program, Toyota and Getaround will explore the benefits and convenience of the smart key box in carsharing.
“Our goal at Getaround has always been to empower people to car-share everywhere,” said Sam Zaid, Getaround’s Founder and CEO. “Integrating our experience and purpose-built car-sharing technology with Toyota’s activities across mobility services opens up new opportunities to Toyota customers and the rapidly growing carsharing market.”
Toyota Financial Services Corporation will develop a new financial product where the lessee is able to use the income generated from carsharing to pay for leasing charges. Based on performance results, Toyota will consider using the MSPF for other mobility services in Japan, like unmanned rent-a-car businesses.