Toyota’s Ambitious Software Dreams Lead to Scaling Down Aspirations
In a move that surprised many, Toyota has made the decision to bring its software subsidiary, Woven Planet, in-house and scale down its ambitious software dreams. Initially launched in 2021, Woven Planet was created with the goal of helping the automaker navigate the rapidly changing industry landscape. However, as time went on, the scale of its ambitions led to delays and frustrations.
Woven Planet was tasked with developing a software platform called Arene, which would enable over-the-air updates for vehicles, similar to Tesla’s system. Toyota also envisioned that the platform could be adopted by other automakers. However, as deadlines were repeatedly pushed back, employees began to question the direction of the project.
With mounting difficulties and a lack of clarity, Toyota decided to shift its focus. Instead of pursuing grand visions and open-source systems, the automaker now aims to develop smaller software solutions specifically designed for Toyota vehicles. This approach allows for quicker rollout and implementation.
To further solidify its new direction, Toyota rebranded Woven Planet as “Woven by Toyota” and brought the company fully in-house. The automaker also stacked the board of directors with industry veterans, signaling a shift towards a more traditional approach rather than a startup mindset. While Toyota maintains that it hasn’t given up on its software ambitions, it acknowledges the need for a more pragmatic and phased approach.
This decision marks a significant change in strategy for Toyota. By scaling down its aspirations and focusing on achievable goals, the automaker hopes to turn its vision into a reality. While some may view this move as a step back, Toyota believes that it is necessary in order to effectively navigate the rapidly evolving automotive industry.