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Sharing Economy

Grab leverages Toyota's telematics technology as competition heats up

Drive data collection system to be installed in 1,500 cars to improve maintenance and safety

The automaker's data collection system will enable Grab to provide its drivers with more cost-efficient and timely maintenance schedules. (Photo courtesy of Toyota)

SINGAPORE -- Southeast Asia's largest ride-hailing app operator Grab will collect drive data from its fleet with Toyota Motor, one of the startup's big investors, to provide better fleet management as regional ride-hailing competition heats up.

On Tuesday, Grab said it would install Toyota's telematics devices in 1,500 cars in Singapore early next year, through which they can collect and analyze drive data from the vehicles.

By using this data, Grab will be able to conduct necessary car maintenance, improve safety and manage any incidents more efficiently, the companies said. Efficient fleet management would also lead to lower car insurance costs, they added.

Speaking at a press conference in Singapore, Susumu Matsuda, president of Toyota Motor Asia Pacific, said this was "the world's first service developed for ride-hailing companies," and that Toyota did not have a plan to offer the same program for other ride-hailing companies.

Toyota also plans to give advice to Grab drivers by analysing their driving behaviors, Matsuda added.

Russell Cohen, head of regional operations at Grab, said that the service "will help Grab enhance our platform safety as well as provide our driver partners with a more cost-efficient and timely maintenance schedule."

Russell Cohen, head of regional operations at Grab, speaks during a press conference in Singapore on Dec. 18. (Photo by Kentaro Iwamoto)

The Japanese automaker, which is repositioning itself as a mobility company, in June invested $1 billion in Grab. Matsuda declined to comment on whether the company is considering making any additional investment in Grab.

The development of the Grab-Toyota partnership comes as the competition among ride-hailing operators heats up in Southeast Asia, where safety as well as better offers for drivers are key factors in maintaining market share.

Indonesia-based Go-Jek, Grab's biggest rival, is launching a service in Singapore in early 2019, which will provide fresh competition for Grab in a market it has dominated since it acquired the regional business of Uber Technologies this year.

Go-Jek also recently launched a beta version of its motorcycle taxi booking and delivery services app in Bangkok. It plans a soft launch of the service "within the next few weeks" in Thailand, according to a spokesperson.

Regarding the competition, Grab's Cohen said: "We have competitors in all the countries we operate in, and small competitors have come and gone since we've been doing business for the last six years and so. With Go-Jek's expansion, we see no difference."

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