A “platooning” MAN
Photo: VW Truck & Bus

Today’s car companies are absolutely gigantic corporate overlords, so it’s interesting when two of the very biggest hit on a problem they feel they don’t have the money to do alone. As such, VW and Toyota are partnering up to develop self-driving trucks.

The key line is that the two companies feel a “sense of urgency,” as the Financial Times reports today. Toyota especially stressed the need for this joint venture, which is kind of wild knowing how colossal each company’s R&D budgets must be. Certainly they are each spending billions on getting self-driving vehicles on the road.

Per the FT:

“It will be difficult to solve the various challenges commercial vehicles face by being part of the Toyota group alone,” said Yoshio Shimo, chief executive of Hino Motors, which is owned 50 per cent by Toyota. “We need allies.”

The specifics of the partnership aren’t yet totally worked out, but should cover “procurement and logistics in addition to hybrid engines, connectivity and other technologies,” as the FT notes, and formally will be between Hino Motors and Volkswagen Truck & Bus GmbH. Both Hino and VW are huge players in the field of semi trucks, VW becoming the biggest in Europe with its 2011 takeover of MAN and Scania.

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If there’s ever a reminder of just how absolutely minute Tesla is compared to the rest of the industry it is pushing its way into, this is it.