Toyota, Softbank unveil tie-up, eye autonomous vehicle services

SoftBank Group head Masayoshi Son, left, and Toyota Motor president Akio Toyoda during their joint press conference announcing the creation of a joint venture to provide ‘new mobility services’ including autonomous vehicles for services such as meal deliveries. (AFP)
Updated 04 October 2018
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Toyota, Softbank unveil tie-up, eye autonomous vehicle services

  • The new company will be called Monet — short for mobility network
  • Monet would be created by April 2019 and would have an initial capital injection of ¥2 billion

TOKYO: Japanese car giant Toyota and conglomerate Softbank on Thursday announced they would create a joint venture to provide “new mobility services” including autonomous vehicles for services such as meal deliveries.
The new company will be called “Monet” — short for “mobility network” — and will be 50.25 percent owned by Softbank, with the remainder held by Toyota.
Monet would be created by April 2019 and would have an initial capital injection of ¥2 billion ($17.5 million), rising eventually to ¥10 billion, said the new firm’s CEO Junichi Miyakawa.
By the second half of the next decade, the new firm would be rolling out autonomous services using Toyota’s battery electric vehicles.
“Possibilities include demand-focused just-in-time mobility services, such as meal delivery vehicles where food is prepared on the move, hospital shuttles where onboard medical examinations can be performed, mobile offices,” said the two firms in a statement.
Toyota’s president Akio Toyoda has pledged to transform the auto behemoth “from a car manufacturer to a mobility company” to face what he described as a “once-in-a-century challenge” to an industry undergoing “profound change.”
Under tycoon CEO Masayoshi Son, SoftBank, which started as a software firm, has increasingly been seen as an investment firm, plowing funds into a broad range of companies and projects outside its core business.
In recent years it has completed deals with the likes of French robotics firm Aldebaran and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.
“Softbank alone and Toyota alone cannot do everything so we should maybe team up,” said Miyakawa.
He acknowledged that rivals in the US, China and Europe were “further down the road” but stressed: “We’re not giving up. We believe we can catch up.”


Bahrain LNG terminal to start commercial operations in May

Updated 39 min 22 sec ago
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Bahrain LNG terminal to start commercial operations in May

  • Bahrain LNG is the developer of the receiving and regasification terminal within the Khalifa bin Salman Port facility in Hidd

DUBAI: Bahrain’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal will start commercial operations in May, with the first LNG shipment to be imported mostly from the UAE’s ADNOC, state media quoted the CEO of Bahrain’s National Oil and Gas Authority (NOGA) as saying.
Bahrain LNG is the developer of the receiving and regasification terminal within the Khalifa bin Salman Port facility in Hidd, Bahrain, Bahrain LNG’s website says.
The terminal also houses an offshore LNG receiving jetty and breakwater, a regasification platform, subsea gas pipelines from the platform to shore, an onshore gas receiving facility, and an onshore nitrogen production facility, according to the website.
Bahrain’s first LNG floating storage unit is anchored in the United Arab Emirates’ Fujairah port, Refinitiv Eikon data shows.
The storage unit is expected to arrive at the Hidd terminal in May, Bahrain News Agency quoted NOGA chief executive Jassem al Shirawi as saying on Monday.
The report did not specify the overall shipment amount, a small part of which Chevron will deliver later.
The terminal is more than 98 percent ready and the trial period will last only a few weeks, he told the news agency.
“Bahrain has signed agreements with more than 25 companies and gas-producing countries from around the world to import LNG,” al Shirawi was quoted as saying.
The LNG import terminal, with a capacity of 800 million cubic feet per day, will allow Bahrain to import the super-chilled fuel as demand grows for natural gas to feed large industrial projects, generate power and produce oil.