Uber, the world’s leading taxi service provider, announced the sale of its driverless autonomous vehicle subsidiary to Aurora Technologies for US$4 billion. Uber is also investing US$400 million in this startup to obtain a 26% stake.
As part of the transaction, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will serve as a member of Aurora’s board of directors. The startup is headquartered in Silicon Valley, has an office in Pittsburgh, and will also recruit Uber A.T.G. engineers and support staff.
The acquisition is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021. The sale of Uber Advanced Technology Group is valued at US$4 billion, far below its valuation of US$7.5 billion last year.
Although Uber is selling its Advanced Technology Group (A.T.G.) unit, the company said it remains interested in the field. Looking ahead, the company will cooperate with Aurora to launch driverless cars on its network.
However, Aurora’s CEO Chris Urmson has confirmed that the startup’s first product will not be an autonomous taxi, but rather an autonomous truck.
Autonomous driving technology is the main focus of Uber founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick (Travis Kalanick), because it can help the company get rid of the largest expenditure-the driver.
With the reduction in driver-related expenses, the company hopes to be profitable, thus ending a multi-billion-dollar loss. However, Uber’s autonomous driving department has been involved in several legal matters-from pedestrian deaths to intellectual property theft.
Although investors have been pressing the company to sell its autonomous driving unit, the company was eventually forced to do so due to the decline in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.