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4 Toyota units to jointly develop self-driving technology

In this Jan. 8, 2018 photo, Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda unveils a prototype of the company's fully self-driving car model, e-Palette. (Kyodo)

NAGOYA (Kyodo) -- Four auto parts suppliers affiliated with Toyota Motor Corp. said Monday they are considering jointly developing autonomous driving technology amid intensifying cross-industry competition in the field.

Denso Corp., Aisin Seiki Co., Jtekt Corp. and Advics Co., a subsidiary of Aisin, said they plan to set up a joint venture next March to develop software that can control key components for automated driving, such as sensors, brakes and steering, in an integrated manner.

In describing the severity of the competition in autonomous driving, Denso President Koji Arima said a press conference the race is "not about win or lose, but live or die."

"We have taken the first step to fight the competition," he added.

The four companies aim to sell their autonomous driving technology not only to Toyota but foreign automakers in competition with German auto parts makers Robert Bosch GmbH and Continental AG, and companies from outside the auto industry including U.S. internet giant Google Inc.

Denso will hold a majority stake of 65 percent in the joint venture, while Aisin will own 25 percent. Jtekt and Advics will each hold a 5 percent stake.

Meanwhile, Aisin and Denso plan to set up another joint venture also in March to develop and sell components for electric vehicles, the companies said.

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