Uber sells self-driving subsidiary to Aurora Technologies

By Ellen Daniel

Uber has announced it is selling its self-driving cars unit Advanced Technologies Group (ATG) to Amazon-backed self-driving car software startup Aurora Technologies.

Founded in 2015 and minority-owned by Softbank Vision Fund, Toyota and Denso, Uber subsidiary ATG was Uber’s route to making driverless cars a reality, launching its first self-driving car services in 2016.

However, the company faced a significant setback in 2018, when a pedestrian in Arizona was killed by one of its self-driving cars.

According to the company’s financial filings, ATG lost $303m between January and September.

In a statement, Aurora said that the deal will help it accelerate its “mission and the delivery of our first product safely, quickly, and broadly”.

It also said the acquisition of ATG will “strengthen and accelerate the first Aurora Driver applications for heavy-duty trucks” and support the company’s light-vehicle products.

Aurora Technologies has also entered a strategic partnership with Uber, which will see Uber invest $400m in the company, retaining a 26% stake, suggesting that Uber will still have some involvement in the self-driving vehicle sector.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will also join the board of Aurora Technologies.

“By adding the people and technology of Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group to the incredible group we’ve already assembled at Aurora, we’re shifting the landscape of the automated vehicle space,” said Chris Urmson, co-founder and CEO of Aurora. “With the addition of ATG, Aurora will have an incredibly strong team and technology, a clear path to several markets, and the resources to deliver. Simply put, Aurora will be the company best positioned to deliver the self-driving products necessary to make transportation and logistics safer, more accessible, and less expensive.”

According to Reuters, the deal values ATG at around $4bn, with the deal expected to be complete at the beginning of 2021.

Uber reported losses of $41.1bn in Q3 of 2020, with the Covid-19 pandemic greatly impacting its ride-hailing business. However, the pandemic has boosted its food delivery service.

Attention will now turn to whether Uber can stop making losses, with CEO Dara Khosrowshahi pivoting the focus of the company in an attempt to achieve profitability.

Read More: Uber loses $1.1bn in Q3 but signs of pandemic recovery.