Toyota has devised a plan to take on big tech. The Japanese car making giant recently unveiled its Woven Planet research group, which is set to develop driverless and connected cars.

This move represents a giant change of direction for the car maker, which has previously spurned development of autonomous car tech in comparison to companies such as Mercedes-Benz and VW that have invested heavily.

Tesla is also a big time developer of autonomous car tech, with its controversial Autopilot and Full Self-Driving mode.

Toyota said it would unveil a fully self-driving prototype in the near future but didn’t give any further details.

Woven Planet is led by ex-Google roboticist James Kuffner, who said that Toyota has a distinct advantage in developing electric cars because of the amount of data they can collect from the tens of millions of Toyotas on the road around the globe.

Toyota is now on a collision course with some of tech’s biggest names.

Apple has recently been linked to Hyundai Motor Group to build its own vehicles. It is believed from reports that Apple would provide the software – including autonomous driving tech – and Hyundai would bring its manufacturing expertise to the partnership.

Amazon has made its desire for autonomous vehicles well known as it wants to eventually turn its fleet of delivery vans into autonomous vehicles.

At last year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Sony announced plans to develop a car and earlier this month it showed off a prototype vehicle undergoing testing.

A statement issued by the brand said it will keep working to refine the car.

“Sony will continue to further develop the vehicle, and plans to conduct driving tests in other regions as well going forward.

“By bringing together its cutting-edge technologies, Sony intends to contribute to the evolution of mobility by contributing safety, security, and in-car entertainment that generates new excitement.”

This isn’t the only big announcement from Toyota recently, the brand said it would reveal its first electric vehicle later this year.

The yet-to-be-named EV will be the same size as the current RAV4 but will be built on the company’s new scalable electric platform.

Toyota has previously focused on hybrid technology, which has been successful around the world, including Australia.