Eighteen months ago, Uber's self-driving car unit, Uber Advanced Technologies Group, was valued at $7.25 billion following a $1 billion investment from Toyota, DENSO and SoftBank's Vision Fund. Now, it's up for sale and a competing autonomous vehicle technology startup is in talks with Uber to buy it, according to three sources familiar with the deal. Aurora Innovation, the startup founded by three veterans of the autonomous vehicle industry who led programs at Google, Tesla and Uber, is in negotiations to buy Uber ATG. Terms of the deal are still unknown, but sources say the two companies have been in talks since October and it is far along in the process. An Uber spokesperson declined to comment, citing that the company's general policy is not to comment on these sorts of inquiries.
Autonomous driving startup Aurora announced on Tuesday that it has scored a partnership with Toyota to build self-driving taxis based on the Toyota Sienna minivan. Aurora says it's aiming to have a fleet of Sienna prototypes ready for testing on public roads by the end of the year. Denso, a major Japanese auto parts manufacturer, will also contribute to the project. This story originally appeared on Ars Technica, a trusted source for technology news, tech policy analysis, reviews, and more. Ars is owned by WIRED's parent company, Condé Nast.
Self-driving car start-up Aurora announced Thursday that it has raised more than $530 million in funding, from investors including Amazon, Sequoia and the investment arm of energy giant Shell. "This funding and partnership will accelerate our mission of delivering the benefits of self-driving technology safely, quickly, and broadly," Aurora said. Aurora's management has a lot of experience in the automotive industry. The company's CEO and co-founder, Chris Urmson, is the former CTO of self-driving cars at Alphabet, which owns the autonomous vehicle firm Waymo. Co-founder and Chief Product Officer Sterling Anderson led the design and launch of the Tesla Model X, according to Aurora's website.
Uber has ditched efforts to develop its own self-driving car with the multibillion-dollar sale of its driverless car division to a Silicon Valley startup. The ride-hailing company is selling the business, known as Advanced Technologies Group (ATG), for a reported $4bn (£3bn) to Aurora, a start-up that makes sensors and software for autonomous vehicles and is backed by Amazon and Sequoia Capital. As part of the deal, Uber is investing $400m in the venture, which employs 1,200 people, in return for a minority stake of 26%, and its chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi will join Aurora's board. The deal will also give Aurora access to a carmaker, Japan's Toyota, which has invested in ATG. Uber said it would collaborate with Aurora in bringing driverless cars to its network in the coming years.
A mere two months after acquiring Uber's self-driving car unit (and a $400 million investment from the company), autonomous vehicle startup Aurora is partnering with the world's largest automaker. On Tuesday, the company announced a partnership with Toyota and Japanese auto parts supplier Denso (via The Verge) that will see the three firms work together to develop and test vehicles with Aurora's Driver technology. They'll first integrate the hardware and software into a fleet of Toyota Sienna minivans before deploying it within a full-scale robotaxai service. "By the end of 2021, we expect to have designed, built and begun testing an initial fleet of these Siennas near our areas of development," the company said. "It brings our companies together to lay the groundwork for the mass-production, launch and support of these vehicles with Toyota on ride-hailing networks, including Uber's, over the next few years."