Uber will sell its self-driving unit to Aurora Innovation in a deal that stands to benefit both the autonomous vehicle startup and the ride-hailing giant.
As part of the deal, Uber will hand over its equity in its Advanced Technology Group (ATG) and invest $400 million into Aurora Innovation, giving it a 26 per cent stake in the company. Prior to this deal, Uber had held an 86.2 per cent stake in Uber ATG with the remaining stake being owned by Uber ATG investors.
Aurora Innovation was cofounded by the former head of Google’s self-driving car project (Waymo) Chris Urmson and is also being led by former Tesla veteran Sterling Anderson, and Drew Bagnell who previously worked for Uber ATG. Since being formed, Aurora has attracted investment from the likes of Amazon, Greylock Partners, Sequoia Capital, and T. Rowe Price.
“There are not going to be a whole lot of players who actually make it across the finish line [in the autonomous vehicle space],” Urmson told Forbes. “We’re excited about this deal because it accelerates us and creates the space and the pathway for us to be one of those winners.”
Aurora plans to initially bring autonomous trucks to the market and its deal with Uber ATG provides it with not only talent and operational facilities but also gives it relationships with Uber ATG investors, including Toyota, and a partnership with Uber that will give it access to the company’s giant ride-hailing platform.
“The way we want to build this company has been with this mindset of let’s build it to scale — let’s create an environment where people can do their best work,” Urmson added. “And then let’s go look for great teams and bring them in. It’s one way to get a combination of talent and technology, and in this case, also relationships.”