Introducing Grab’s hybrid cars with “black box” recorders supplied by Toyota

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Photo: YouTube screengrab

Singapore – Toyota and Grab, the newly-appointed Southeast Asia’s leading ride-hailing company (after if acquired Uber), are set on a path that will boost each other’s businesses.

In other Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines, Toyota is offering cheap financing deals, exclusive perks and special discount on batteries, aircon cleaning and car detailing for existing and future Grab operators.

In Singapore, Toyota will be sending around 1,500 hybrid Prius cars that run on petrol and electricity, all being equipped with a “black box” recorder that is an initiative by the car manufacturer to better understand how its vehicles are being used. Another 5,500 recorders will be installed in the rest of Grab’s fleet already operating in Singapore. More details will be finalized and announced next week.

All of these different proposals are part of the US$1 billion (S$1.34 billion) investment that Grab is receiving from Toyota after it absorbed Uber’s operations in Southeast Asia in March.

Photo: YouTube screengrab

The recorders will serve as a means used by Toyota to better understand the physical driving behaviour of its cars, something that is not immediately feasible when it comes to its private consumers. The information acquired by the black boxes will be used in improving the manufacturing practices of the car making giant.

This initiative will also benefit Grab operators because Toyota service centres can closely monitor a vehicle and avoid breakdowns by conducting more accurate preventative servicing. In addition to this, Grab cars can now enjoy an “express service” much like an express lane for quicker maintenance check-ups and procedures. This would result in lesser time spent in a service centre and more time accommodating a client.

The long-term goal of this partnership between Toyota and Grab is not limited to manufacturing of vehicles and using said vehicles as a ride-hailing business. Just as Grab is expanding its services to food delivery, loans, courier services, and payments, Toyota aims to offer more mobile services such as self-driving shuttles and mobile restaurants in the future.