The two companies agreed to invest ~£1.55 billion in each other to solidify the new bond

NTT and Toyota are joining forces to make Toyota’s plans for a smart city at the base of Mt Fuji a reality, the companies announced today.

The companies said they would work together to develop a platform to compile and analyse all of the data being created from the smart cities connected homes, vehicles, and services.

“It is necessary not only for each company to engage in its own projects but also for both companies to work closely in jointly building and operating the ‘Smart City Platform’,” explained the companies in a statement.

As part of the deal, both companies will invest 200 billion yen (~£1.55 billion) in each other; this will give Toyota a 2.07% stake in NTT, while giving Japan’s incumbent operator a 0.9% stake in Toyota, the tenth largest company in the world.

Toyota announced its intention to create a smart city back in January, with construction planned to start in 2021. Described as a ‘living laboratory’, the zero-emissions, hydrogen-powered city will be home to some 2,000 researchers (at least initially) and will feature an enormous range of connected technologies, from AI-powered smart homes to autonomous cars.

“The idea of creating so-called connected city is becoming more and more essential," said Toyota president Akio Toyoda. "It would connect society, people’s lives and automobiles.”

The deal builds on NTT and Toyota’s existing relationship, since NTT is already assisting Toyota to explore autonomous vehicle technology. 

Both the telecoms and automotive industries have been rapidly diversifying in recent years as traditional markets come under threat from new technology. They are natural partners in this endeavour, with autonomous vehicles presenting a huge opportunity for both parties. Now, as smart cities edge closer to becoming a reality, this too could be a particularly viable area for collaboration. 


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