Toyota USA: Giving Back to the Community

Toyota (Fleet of 2017 Toyotas, ready to take us on our Black History Month Tour)

 

The phrase ‘Giving Back’ is often bandied about by many who want to exclaim their commitment to one cause or another, and it frequently implies philanthropy in some form. For the Japanese brand Toyota, it’s part of their commitment to diversity.

If you look at research conducted by IHS Markit, Toyota and their luxury brand Lexus are favorites among African, Hispanic, Asian and Native American consumers. This fact was awarded when Toyota was honored for their diversity efforts at the Annual Diversity Volume Leadership Awards (DVL) at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The DVL Awards are presented by the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers and IHS Markit. Instead of taking this enormous cultural brand equity for granted, Toyota has demonstrated its desire to become an even more integral part of the colorful fabric of America.

For Black History Month 2017, Toyota Motor Sales, USA, showed a small group of journalists, through a four-day tour of historic African American sites that they do indeed give back to multicultural communities through charitable donations and a strong sense of community.

The tour started in New York State, where we drove a fleet of 2017 Toyota sedans and SUVs to Villa Lewaro in Irvington, New York, the estate of the first American female and African American female millionaire, Madame C.J. Walker. We received a guided tour from Senior Field Officer Brent Leggs, with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Leggs shared the rich history of the woman and the estate she built.

 

(Toyota Avalon meets Villa Lewaro)

 

Madame Walker was renowned for her keen entrepreneurial sense, having developed haircare products for black women.

The name Villa Lewaro was coined by using the first two letters in the first, middle and last names of her daughter, Leila Walker Robinson, who later changed her name to A’Lelia Walker. The estate was designed and built by black architect Vertner Tandy.

 

(Grand Foyer – Villa Lewaro)

 

Walker used the 34 room mansion as a meeting place to discuss race relations. Upon her death, just about a year after moving in, the estate was bequeathed to her daughter A’Lelia Walker, who owned the home until her death in 1931. After her death, Villa Lewaro was bequeathed to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The NAACP sold the home the same day it took ownership, and the proceeds from the sale of Villa Lewaro were a financial savior to the NAACP, which at the time was on the verge of bankruptcy. In 1993, Villa Lewaro was sold to Harold Doley, former U.S. Ambassador to the Ivory Coast and owner of the oldest African American-owned investment-banking firm, Doley Securities L.L.C. The house became a National Historic Landmark in 1976, and Toyota has supported the restoration of the home through generous donations to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Ambassador Doley and his wife Helena painstakingly restored Villa Lewaro over a 20-year period.

From the Walker Estate, I drove the 2017 Toyota Avalon to Harlem in Manhattan, New York. The Avalon is the flagship sedan for Toyota, and Harlem was the flagship community for black writers, singers, musicians, athletes, poets and religious and community leaders in the early to late 1900s. It was in Harlem that we took a walking tour of The Harlem Renaissance, conducted by Neil Shoemaker, who refers to himself as ‘Mr. Harlem.’ Shoemaker discussed significant figures and places in Harlem’s history, such as Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, the Apollo Theater, the Cotton Club, the Audubon Theater, Joe Frazier’s Gym, and many more. Harlem’s history is well documented, and it felt like we had gone back to those glorious days of its cultural peak during the walking tour. We capped off the Harlem tour with a night of dining and jazz at legendary Minton’s Jazz and Supper Club.

 

(Malcolm Shabazz Multi-Purpose Cultural Center. Harlem Mosque where Malcolm X inspired many)

 

The next morning, I drove a 2017 Toyota Highlander from New York to Philadelphia to learn about more black history. The Toyota Highlander is a superb SUV, capable of toting large families and their gear safely and comfortably. I was impressed with the more than 30 highway mpg achieved during the two-hour drive to ‘Philly.’

Our first stop in Philadelphia was the Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church, located just a few blocks from Independence Hall. At the Church, Docent Peggy McGraw recalled the rich history of Mother A.M.E. Bethel, and the impact it has had on African American lives for hundreds of years.

 

(Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church)

 

Mother Bethel A.M.E Church was founded in 1794 by Bishop Richard Allen, born a slave in 1760. After buying his freedom, Allen began preaching and that led to the construction of three churches prior to the construction of the current sanctuary dedicated in October 1890. Mother Bethel continues to serve as an active participant in the spiritual, social, and civic causes germane to African Americans and people of color. Mother Bethel A.M.E. is the oldest continuously black-owned property in the United States.

 

(Historic Mother Bethel A.M.E. Sanctuary)

 

Our next stop on our Black History Month tour was the Belmont Mansion in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Now on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, the Belmont Mansion was a stop on the ‘Underground Railroad,’ which was neither a railroad or underground, but a series of trails and safe houses used by ‘Conductors’ to guide scores of slaves from the south to free states north and even into Canada. Harriet Tubman was the most famous Conductor to have stopped at the Belmont Mansion as she guided her people to freedom.

 

(Underground Railroad Museum at Belmont Mansion)

 

In June 2007, the Underground Railroad Museum was opened at the historic mansion. Displays include numerous historical artifacts and documents, including an emotion-inducing slave Bill of Sale.

 

(Slave Bill of Sale – Underground Railroad Museum)

 

After a great cheesesteak lunch in South Philly, I took the wheel of a 2017 Toyota Camry for the final legs of our powerful, educational journey. The 2017 Camry is one of Toyota’s best-selling cars for good reason—it does everything well and was the perfect vehicle for travel to our last stop: The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, D.C.

Before we visited the NMAAHC, we were present as Toyota Motor Sales, USA, presented a check for $10,000 to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, an organization dedicated to preserving our Nation’s historic treasures, like Villa Lewaro.

 

(Toyota donates to National Trust for Historic Preservation)

 

There is so much to say about my experience at the NMAAHC, it would take several more stories to complete. You start your journey there by descending by elevator into displays about the early days of the slave trade. As you descend, lights dim and you see a timeline on the walls denoting key years in the journey from slavery to freedom.

 

(Smithsonian NMAAHC)

 

Over many thousands of displays, documents, photographs, video and movie presentations; and actual artifacts; the story of African Americans is told in a truly superb way. The remains from slave ships, including wood from a sunken ship and the recovered shackles used to bind adults and babies; an original, unrestored slave cabin; a Southern Railways rail car; an airplane flown by Tuskegee Airmen; a reproduction of a lunch counter where you can interactively feel what it was like not to be served because of your color; and so much more.

 

(Slave shackles recovered from wreck of slave ship Sao Jose)

 

There are displays on war, politics, culture, music, sports, and all facets of black history. It’s truly a heart wrenching, yet remarkable experience designed to educate and enlighten.

 

(Slave Cabin at NMAAHC)

 

Our trip with Toyota was an experience of a lifetime. It should be noted that Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. donated more than $3 million to the NMAAHC, another prime example of how Toyota gives back to the community. Thank you, Toyota.

 

CES 2017 Was All About Incredibly Smart Cars

CES 2017

If there was one, star attraction at CES this year, arguably it was vehicles. Vendors, including Ford, Toyota. Volkswagen, and Nissan gave CES attendees a look into the cars of the very near future.

Artificial intelligence is the power behind the new crop of autonomous, assistive vehicles. These cars not only self-drive, they can read your emotions, make snap decisions in the presence of danger on the road, and can even tell you about the flora and fauna at your destination site.

As one Toyota engineer said during a press event, “It’s now about creating a relationship between people and their cars,” In fact, Toyota built its smart, self-driving car with the Japanese concept of “Aisha: meaning “Beloved Car.”

Take a look at the most jaw-dropping vehicles on display at CES that are slated to go to market within the next 5-10 years.

 

Volkswagen:

 

Image: File Image: File

 

 

Volkswagen’s concept car, the I.D. is a connected electric car that can also drive in fully autonomous mode. At CES, Volkswagen demonstrated it for the first time to the American public, with the vehicle’s full experience brought to life via virtual reality. The production version of the I.D. is planned to launch as early as 2020, with plans for fully autonomous driving by 2025. The car’s autonomy, named I.D. Pilot, is activated by touching the VW logo on the steering wheel, signaling it to disappear into the instrument panel.

 

The car has many human-vehicle interaction features. Upon approaching the front of the car, the car’s front bumper lights, “smile” at the person and its eye-like headlights open and follow the human as she walks back and forth in the front of the vehicle.

I Took Toyota’s New Space Age Car for a Ride

Toyota

A big highlight at the CES 2017 technology show in Las Vegas this year was Toyota’s futuristic Concept-i vehicle.

Truly something out of science fiction, this is less of a vehicle and more of a mobile, robot friend. The car is powered by the latest in Toyota innovation, the artificial intelligence (AI) platform called “Yui.” You don’t just drive this car (or let it drive). You interact with it.

Yui is far more than software, it’s a personality. The AI acts as an interpreter between human and vehicle. With Yui, the Concept-i can self-drive, brake for you when manually driving, and can even tell you how you are feeling while you are driving.

On the Road With Yui

 

This is some seriously high-tech stuff. So, instead of just interviewing a bunch of engineers and marketing people, I was able to road test the Concept-i with Yui as my co-pilot, all through a sophisticated virtual reality demonstration setup by Toyota’s engineers.

The experience started with me creating a profile for Yui to get to know me better. I entered my name and my hobbies in an app.

When I entered the Concept-i, Yui greeted me and then asked me where I wanted to go. By asking, I mean an actual voice emanating from the dashboard.

Yui offered trip suggestions based on the hobbies and activities I liked to do that I had entered into the app. The suggestions appeared in front of me, hovering mid-air in the dashboard area.

I selected my preferred destination simply by talking to Yui. No tapping, touch, or mouse click required. Yui showed me via a map that appeared on the dashboard, the route we would take and how long it would take to reach the destination.

I began my journey in a virtual neighborhood, which was supposed to represent me taking the car from my home. As the trip began, Yui informed me that I had full manual control of the vehicle.

 

AI as Guardian

 

As Toyota representatives told me, the goal is not to relinquish control of driving totally to a machine. Rather, it’s to allow humans the ability to manually drive when they want, say, on a nice day along a scenic coastal highway; and to hand-off driving to the car and software, say, when you are tired, or drunk.

I drove the Concept-i through my idyllic, little neighborhood. Whenever anything dangerous crossed my path, human or another vehicle, Yui, alerted me with a vocal warning and also went into “guardian” mode to handle braking if I was too slow to react.

Once we reached the highway, Yui took over and started driving. Ambient music played, and Yui’s sensors honed in to detect my level of relaxation. My driver’s seat automatically reclined and a massage pad on the seat began kneading my lower back.

Suddenly, a biker appeared from a side trail in front of the car. Yui deftly avoided an accident, braking just enough to avoid the bicyclist but not enough to lurch me forward. Had I been driving in the actual scenario, the outcome would likely have been worse.

What a way to drive! After I reached my destination, Yui informed me of what my emotions were during the course of the trip. Unsurprisingly, I was relaxed and happy for most of the journey.

The Concept-i is a beautiful vehicle. Winged doors open up automatically instead of outward, almost as with a Delorean, but not at as much of an angle. Inside, is a widescreen, 3-D, full-color display that lets you keep your head up looking to the road instead of down at a screen.

Watch the video of my experience riding in Toyota’s Concept-i.

 



10 of the Most Intriguing African Americans in Science and Tech in 2016

science

While there is an ongoing, sometimes wearisome fight to increase diversity and inclusion in STEM, it’s important to know that there are people of color in STEM fields right now doing incredible work. The people we covered this year in STEM come from all different walks of life: some were formerly homeless, incarcerated, told they could never achieve in school, and faced other challenges.

Here are 10 of the most intriguing men and women in STEM that Black Enterprise covered in 2016: (Click on the names to read each one’s full story).

Divine
Hip-hop entertainer turned tech entrepreneur

Image: File Image: File

Divine sat down with Black Enterprise to talk about how he emerged from a 10-year prison sentence for dealing drugs to befriending venture capitalist Ben Horowitz and founding his own financial tech startup, due to launch its first product in early 2017.

Hadiyah-Nicole Green
Physicist and cancer researcher

Image: File Image: File

As one of the less than 100 black women physicists in the U.S., Green is making groundbreaking research in the fight against cancer. She came up with the treatment-altering idea of using lasers to treat cancer to avoid the unpleasant side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. Green was also a panelist at a Women in STEM discussion at Black Enterprise’s TechConneXt summit in 2016.

Ryan Leslie
Recording artist and producer; founder of SuperPhone

Image: File Image: File

The “Diamond Girl” artist launched SuperPhone—which is part messaging app, part data analytics software, and part customer relationship management (CRM) solution—after noticing some feature deficits in other communication apps and platforms. Leslie also joined other tech innovators as a speaker at TechConneXt.

Candice Bridge
Forensic Chemist

Image: File Image: File

The Ph.D., who is a professor at the University of Central Florida (UCF), was awarded a grant of $324,000 for her research, leading to new ways to analyze evidence from sexual assault investigations.

Aisha Bowe
Aerospace Engineer, Co-founder and CEO, STEMBoard

Image: File Image: File

Bowe worked at NASA’s Ames Research Center as an aerospace engineer and went on to co-found STEMBoard, a tech solutions company that create software solutions for government and private entities. The company also works to close the achievement gap. Bowe also represented women in STEM as a speaker at TechConneXt.

(Click page 2 to continue)

2016 Best Companies for Diversity: Toyota

Toyota

North America CEO: James Lentz

 

The 50 companies on this year’s Best Companies for Diversity list represent brands that recognize the value in cultivating an inclusive environment, driven by company leadership through senior management and the board of directors (as shown in the B.E. Registry of Corporate Directors). Some are also taking a step further to engage employees during turbulent and confusing socio-political times.

Here we’d like to highlight automotive manufacturer Toyota Motor North America Inc., and what it’s doing to push forward and nurture diversity and inclusion. Toyota is also a member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable—an advocacy organization that recognizes corporations spending at least $1 billion with minority and woman-owned suppliers.

Toyota has a corporate social code of conduct and guiding principle that is for all of its employees. It is called the Toyota Way and is supported by two main pillars: “Continuous Improvement” and “Respect for People.”

To ensure that African Americans are in the pipeline for management promotions, Toyota North America’s African American Collaborative Business Partnering Group is engaged with mentoring and supporting team members to help prepare them for advancement opportunities. An annual Diversity & Inclusion Assessment holds executives accountable for the effectiveness of such initiatives. And the Morale Survey includes questions to gauge the state of the work culture and work environment around respect and treatment of team members.

Additionally, Toyota North America strives to work with diverse suppliers. As a member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable, it spent more than $1 billion with African American suppliers.

7 Incredible Uses of IBM’s Watson

Watson

IBM Watson is a super advanced (and super smart) technology platform. It uses natural language processing to answer questions and analyze enormous amounts of data. Watson allows humans and computers to also interact with natural, human-friendly language.

Watson is being integrated into a variety of industries. Big Blue made the technology available to anyone and any entity; from the largest global enterprise to the individual creating an app at home.

Here are seven incredible uses for Watson that you many have not imagined:

1. In Vehicles With OnStar

 

GM announced a partnership with IBM to integrate Watson with OnStar, delivering personalized content to drivers, expanding OnStar AtYourService. The integration allows the OnStar service to create a very personalized driving experience. For example, it can remind you to pick up milk at the store before you get off the highway exit, or it can provide food recommendations in the area you are driving in. Brand partnerships will create capabilities such as the system letting you know where the next Exxon gas station is located or making payments from your car with a MasterCard.

2. As a Music Producer

 

Watson can also help to make music. In a collaboration with Grammy Award-winning music producer Alex Da Kid, Watson analyzed popular culture texts and pop music throughout the years. The technology discovered patterns between various keys, chord progressions, and genres, completing an emotional fingerprint of music by year, which Alex Da Kid used to bring emotional insight into his new song “Not Easy.”

3. With Slack

 

IBM is partnering with communications and collaboration platform Slack to create a more powerful Slackbot—Slack’s artificial intelligence-fueled customer service bot. Bots automate customer interaction using natural language chat, and customers experience chat as though they are having a conversation with another human, as opposed to with a computer. Slackbot will also be available for enterprise IT departments to identify and respond to computer and data center problems.

4. For Toyota Financial Services

 

Toyota Financial Services uses Watson Explorer to enhance the service experience of its auto loan and lease customers. With the technology, TFS call center agents and analysts get instant access to information and insights. Watson can crawl through and analyze petabytes of data in seconds, freeing up time spent by call agents researching solutions for customers.

5. With 1-800-Flowers

 

1-800-Flowers uses Watson to create a personalized shopper for customers. A customer can type in the search function on the 1-800-Flowers’ site, “I am looking for a gift for my Mom.” Via a Watson-fueled search, the customer will be asked a number of relevant questions. Then the site can make suggestions based on the customer’s responses.

6. On Sesame Street

 

Big Bird has teamed up with IBM to create personalized interactive learning experiences for tykes. Together, the two will develop a new category of adaptive learning. According to Jeff Dunn, the CEO of Sesame Workshop, the goal is to “design new educational platforms and products to adapt to the learning preferences and aptitude levels of individual preschoolers, regardless of socioeconomic background.”

7. To Fight California’s Drought

 

OmniEarth, an environment tech startup, uses geloanalytics to help solve the issue of water shortages. Using Watson, the company can process, clarify, and fuse an insane amount of satellite and aerial images with other data sets. With this data, OmniEarth can help identify land parcels that need to reduce water usage and by how much.

“If we can determine how much water a property needs on every given day, then compare that to how much that property is actually using, we can calculate exactly how much potential that property or that homeowner has to save water,” says Chelsea Minton, senior sales engineer at OmniEarth.

 

 

7 Incredible Uses of IBM’s Watson

Watson

IBM Watson is a super advanced (and super smart) technology platform. It uses natural language processing to answer questions and analyze enormous amounts of data. Watson allows humans and computers to also interact with natural, human-friendly language.

Watson is being integrated into a variety of industries. Big Blue made the technology available to anyone and any entity; from the largest global enterprise to the individual creating an app at home.

Here are seven incredible uses for Watson that you many have not imagined:

1. In Vehicles With OnStar

 

GM announced a partnership with IBM to integrate Watson with OnStar, delivering personalized content to drivers, expanding OnStar AtYourService. The integration allows the OnStar service to create a very personalized driving experience. For example, it can remind you to pick up milk at the store before you get off the highway exit, or it can provide food recommendations in the area you are driving in. Brand partnerships will create capabilities such as the system letting you know where the next Exxon gas station is located or making payments from your car with a MasterCard.

2. As a Music Producer

 

Watson can also help to make music. In a collaboration with Grammy Award-winning music producer Alex Da Kid, Watson analyzed popular culture texts and pop music throughout the years. The technology discovered patterns between various keys, chord progressions, and genres, completing an emotional fingerprint of music by year, which Alex Da Kid used to bring emotional insight into his new song “Not Easy.”

3. With Slack

 

IBM is partnering with communications and collaboration platform Slack to create a more powerful Slackbot—Slack’s artificial intelligence-fueled customer service bot. Bots automate customer interaction using natural language chat, and customers experience chat as though they are having a conversation with another human, as opposed to with a computer. Slackbot will also be available for enterprise IT departments to identify and respond to computer and data center problems.

4. For Toyota Financial Services

 

Toyota Financial Services uses Watson Explorer to enhance the service experience of its auto loan and lease customers. With the technology, TFS call center agents and analysts get instant access to information and insights. Watson can crawl through and analyze petabytes of data in seconds, freeing up time spent by call agents researching solutions for customers.

5. With 1-800-Flowers

 

1-800-Flowers uses Watson to create a personalized shopper for customers. A customer can type in the search function on the 1-800-Flowers’ site, “I am looking for a gift for my Mom.” Via a Watson-fueled search, the customer will be asked a number of relevant questions. Then the site can make suggestions based on the customer’s responses.

6. On Sesame Street

 

Big Bird has teamed up with IBM to create personalized interactive learning experiences for tykes. Together, the two will develop a new category of adaptive learning. According to Jeff Dunn, the CEO of Sesame Workshop, the goal is to “design new educational platforms and products to adapt to the learning preferences and aptitude levels of individual preschoolers, regardless of socioeconomic background.”

7. To Fight California’s Drought

 

OmniEarth, an environment tech startup, uses geloanalytics to help solve the issue of water shortages. Using Watson, the company can process, clarify, and fuse an insane amount of satellite and aerial images with other data sets. With this data, OmniEarth can help identify land parcels that need to reduce water usage and by how much.

“If we can determine how much water a property needs on every given day, then compare that to how much that property is actually using, we can calculate exactly how much potential that property or that homeowner has to save water,” says Chelsea Minton, senior sales engineer at OmniEarth.

 

 

The BE Smart Hackathon 2016 Begins!

BE Smart Hackathon

The Black Enterprise TechConneXt Summit officially starts tomorrow, but the second annual BE Smart Hackathon sponsored by Toyota has just started. Already there is plenty of excitement and energy to spare.

Yesterday 10 teams from 10 historically black colleges flew into an unusually hot San Francisco. The students spent Saturday getting settled and, to break the ice, went to a nearby bowling alley and bowled on teams made up of students from different schools.

The bowling was sponsored by Prudential, and five Prudential staff bowled with the students and engaged with them, telling them about Prudential’s broad footprint in financial services and why they should consider Prudential as a potential employer or for an internship.

Historically Black Colleges

Teams of four students each represent the following HBCUs:

Alabama A&M University

Florida A&M University

Hampton University

Howard University

Johnson C. Smith University

Morehouse College

Morgan State University

North Carolina A&T State University

Southern University and A&M College

Tuskegee University

Two students won a MillerCoors contest and are attending the summit under MillerCoors’ sponsorship.

The Best and the Brightest

  • The CEO and president of Black Enterprise, Earl “Butch” Graves Jr., welcomed the students this morning after breakfast.

“We are connecting black talent to Silicon Valley,” he said. “We’ve doubled the number of students and schools from last year to show tech recruiters that black talent is available for them to hire.”

Graves described how pervasive technology is, having entered just about every industry, and how these students are smart to take advantage of tech and networking opportunities like the BE Smart Hackathon.

During breakfast, I sat with students from Alabama A&M.

“I’m so glad I’m attending Alabama A&M,” Kristina Williams told me. The comp sci major is a native Alabamian. “My professors care about me. My classes are small. I was given a lot of financial aid.” Williams had spent time at the state university as a high schooler, but chose Alabama A&M because of its financial, academic, and social support.

James Burrell, a senior electrical engineering major, had transferred from Alabama’s state school and could compare the two experiences. He agreed with Williams. “It’s completely different,” he said. “There’s much more support—practical support, in that my professors have given me paid jobs.”  The other students then described how their professors had also said things like, “I like how you code,” and then hired them or provided introductions for employment.

Tsige Zergaw, originally from Ethiopia, described the campus’s natural beauty. “I’ve gone hiking in the area and it’s really beautiful,” she said. The campus is on a mountain, so it’s easy to appreciate the landscape below.

What about diversity? Will these students be prepared to work in an environment that will probably be majority nonblack?

Richard Embden, also an electrical engineering major, says yes. “Most of the students are black, but most of our professors are international.”

For more about the BE Smart Hackathon, go to the Black Enterprise TechConneXt Summit website.

You Can Now Make Your Toyota Lease Payments by Driving for Uber

Lease a Toyota and drive for Uber? Through a new partnership between the two companies, you can pay Toyota Financial Services through your earnings as an Uber driver.

The companies have new offerings that allow Toyota consumers to lease their vehicles and then cover their monthly payments through their earnings as Uber drivers.

Uber has entered into partnerships with a variety of automakers. It offers a “sign up to drive” financing program that allows participants to receive discounts on purchasing select, new Toyota, GM, Ford, Nissan, Hyundai, Chrysler, and Volkswagen vehicles.

As ride-sharing services continue to disrupt the transportation industry, automakers have been left with little choice but to come up with creative new ways to integrate their products with these services.

GM invested $500 million into Lyft to launch a network of self-driving cars. It also created a short-term rental program called Express Drive where GM provides all-in rental cars to Lyft drivers, who will pay $99/week plus mileage to nothing at all; depending on how many Lyft rides they provide using the vehicles, according to a report from TechCrunch.

“Ridesharing has huge potential in terms of shaping the future of mobility. Through this collaboration with Uber, we would like to explore new ways of delivering secure, convenient and attractive mobility services to customers,” said Shigeki Tomoyama, senior managing officer of Toyota Motor Corp. and president of the Connected Co., one of Toyota Motor Corp.’s recently created in-house companies.

“We’re excited that Toyota, the largest automobile manufacturer in the world, is making a strategic investment in Uber as part of a broader global partnership. Toyota vehicles are among the most popular cars on the Uber platform worldwide and we look forward to collaborating with Toyota in multiple ways going forward, starting with the expansion of our vehicle financing efforts,” said Emil Michael, chief business officer of Uber.

Toyota and Uber have other collaboration plans including developing apps specifically for Uber drivers and setting up a fleet program to sell Toyota and Lexus vehicles to those who drive for Uber.

You Can Now Make Your Toyota Lease Payments by Driving for Uber

Lease a Toyota and drive for Uber? Through a new partnership between the two companies, you can pay Toyota Financial Services through your earnings as an Uber driver.

The companies have new offerings that allow Toyota consumers to lease their vehicles and then cover their monthly payments through their earnings as Uber drivers.

Uber has entered into partnerships with a variety of automakers. It offers a “sign up to drive” financing program that allows participants to receive discounts on purchasing select, new Toyota, GM, Ford, Nissan, Hyundai, Chrysler, and Volkswagen vehicles.

As ride-sharing services continue to disrupt the transportation industry, automakers have been left with little choice but to come up with creative new ways to integrate their products with these services.

GM invested $500 million into Lyft to launch a network of self-driving cars. It also created a short-term rental program called Express Drive where GM provides all-in rental cars to Lyft drivers, who will pay $99/week plus mileage to nothing at all; depending on how many Lyft rides they provide using the vehicles, according to a report from TechCrunch.

“Ridesharing has huge potential in terms of shaping the future of mobility. Through this collaboration with Uber, we would like to explore new ways of delivering secure, convenient and attractive mobility services to customers,” said Shigeki Tomoyama, senior managing officer of Toyota Motor Corp. and president of the Connected Co., one of Toyota Motor Corp.’s recently created in-house companies.

“We’re excited that Toyota, the largest automobile manufacturer in the world, is making a strategic investment in Uber as part of a broader global partnership. Toyota vehicles are among the most popular cars on the Uber platform worldwide and we look forward to collaborating with Toyota in multiple ways going forward, starting with the expansion of our vehicle financing efforts,” said Emil Michael, chief business officer of Uber.

Toyota and Uber have other collaboration plans including developing apps specifically for Uber drivers and setting up a fleet program to sell Toyota and Lexus vehicles to those who drive for Uber.