Japanese automakers Toyota and Isuzu are partnering to develop autonomous driving technologies, electronic platforms, battery electric systems and fuel-cell electric systems for small commercial trucks, the companies announced March 24.
To promote their partnership, Toyota, Isuzu and Toyota’s truck division, Hino Motors, are establishing the Commercial Japan Partnership Technologies Corporation. This company will design CASE (connected, autonomous, shared and electric) vehicle technologies and services for commercial vehicles—that is, machines used for carrying goods or fare-paying passengers.
This partnership is remarkable, in the face of the decades of rivalry between Isuzu and Hino. “Hino is our biggest rival, and we are fighting it out with them every day all over the world. That will never change,” Isuzu president Masanori Katayama said at a press conference. “However, at the root of our competition is a common desire to improve logistics and society.”
A key problem the partnership was developed to solve was a shortage of drivers. “Nobody is willing to take the job,” Hino president Yoshio Shimo said at the press conference. “Driving trucks is a tough way to earn a living. The risk of traffic accidents is ever-present, the hours are long and it involves a lot of work besides driving.”
“In seeking solutions for these problems of overland shipping, there are many areas in which individual companies can and should cooperate with each other,” Shimo noted at the press conference. “By coordinating with each other in a connected manner, companies can reduce waiting times and improve loading efficiency.”
The companies noted that CASE technologies can only contribute to society once they become widespread, a problem no company can accomplish alone. As such, Isuzu and Hino aim to cooperate to promote CASE support for commercial vehicles, and Toyota is accelerating upfront investments in CASE technologies.
“To build an ever-better mobility society, it is becoming more important not to only compete but to also cooperate,” Toyota president Akio Toyoda said at the press conference.
Image courtesy Toyota.