Uber sells autonomous car division to Aurora Technologies

8 Dec 2020

Image: © Sundry Photography/Stock.adobe.com

Uber is selling off its Advanced Technologies Group to self-driving tech start-up Aurora.

US start-up Aurora Technologies has agreed to buy Uber’s autonomous car division, the Advanced Technologies Group (ATG). In a blog post, Aurora said that acquiring the division’s technology and team will help “accelerate” its goals of developing self-driving vehicles.

As part of the deal, Uber will take a 26pc stake in Aurora following a $400m investment, with Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi joining the board at Aurora. According to Reuters, this deal values ATG at $4bn, down from $7.25bn last year.

“Few technologies hold as much promise to improve people’s lives with safe, accessible and environmentally friendly transportation as self-driving vehicles,” Khosrowshahi said.

“For the last five years, our phenomenal team at ATG has been at the forefront of this effort – and in joining forces with Aurora, they are now in pole position to deliver on that promise even faster.”

Aurora was founded in 2017 to develop autonomous driving technology and it is currently building a platform called Aurora Driver. This, the company said, brings together software, hardware and data services to operate passenger vehicles, light commercial vehicles and heavy-duty trucks across a range of applications.

‘Shifting the landscape’

The start-up, which has backers including Amazon and Sequoia, has offices in San Francisco, Pittsburgh and Dallas where it also tests its vehicles.

Commenting on the acquisition, Aurora co-founder and CEO Chris Urmson said his company is “shifting the landscape of the automated vehicle space”.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

This is not the first time in 2020 that Uber has sold off stakes in its business ventures. In October, New York investment firm Greenbriar announced it was buying a $500m stake in Uber’s logistics arm, Uber Freight. As part of the deal, Uber holds majority ownership of Uber Freight, while Greenbriar managing partners Michael Weiss and Jill Raker joined Uber Freight’s board of directors.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic