SoftBank to roll out first self-driving buses in Japan

SoftBank has stepped up its push to become a leading player in the driverless technology space, with an announcement that it will roll out self-driving buses in Japan from April this year.

The initiative is being led by SB Drive Corp. (“SB Drive”), a joint venture formed in April 2016 between SoftBank and Advanced Smart Mobility Co., Ltd. (an Japanese R&D company). Yahoo Japan has also invested JPY 490 million (US$4.4 million) into this joint venture. Continue reading

Softbank and Amazon take driverless investments past US$1.5 billion for the first half of February

February is proving to be a blockbuster month for investment in autonomous vehicle companies, with a total of US$1.639 billion being invested in the first half of the month.

Aside from the sheer volume, there are two other striking features to these investments.  First, they involve what is believed to be Amazon’s first investment in a firm directly involved in the development of autonomous cars.  Second, they include the first investment of Softbank’s Vision Funds following the sale of its stake in US chipmaker Nvidia. Continue reading