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.
As expected, Uber is selling off its self-driving unit. On Monday, the company confirmed the sale of its Advanced Technologies Group (ATG) to Aurora Innovation, one of its now previous competitors in the autonomous vehicle space. As part of the deal, Uber will invest $400 million in Aurora, with CEO Dara Khosrowshahi joining the startup's board of directors. Effectively, Uber is paying Aurora to take the division off its hands. In the near term, the startup will put ATG's expertise to use on a self-driving truck it's working on.
John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo, the autonomous vehicle company created by Alphabet Inc., introduces a Chrysler Pacifica hybrid outfitted with Waymo's suite of sensors and radar at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Jan. 8, 2017. Waymo, the former Google Self-Driving Car project that became a stand-alone Alphabet Inc. unit in December, didn't have much to say publicly last year when several high-level engineers left and began starting their own automated car companies or joined competitors. But when it comes to protecting a lead in patented autonomous driving technology built up after more than six years of research, the firm is ready to make a big noise. Waymo on Thursday dropped a bombshell by filing a suit against Uber and its Otto self-driving tech unit in federal court in San Francisco, claiming the ride-hailing giant stole patents and trade secrets. The Mountain View, California-based company's claims center on actions by Anthony Levandowski, a long-time member of Google's driverless car team who left to found Otto in 2016.
An Uber Technologies self-driving test vehicle like the one that hit a pedestrian in Arizona on Sunday night. SAN FRANCISCO -- One of the country's top self-driving car experts says that a recently released dashcam video suggests a failure of technology is at issue in the fatal Uber self-driving car incident that killed an Arizona woman. "The car's LiDAR (light ranging and detection laser system) should have picked the pedestrian up far before it hit her," says Raj Rajkumar, who leads the autonomous vehicle research team at Carnegie Mellon University. "Clearly there's a problem, because the radar also should have picked her up throughout, she was moving," he says. "Maybe it's the sensors not working correctly or the hardware that processes it, or the software."