After years of development, Uber is exiting the race to develop a self-driving vehicle by selling its self driving unit, Advanced Technologies Group. The announcement comes as the ride hailing and food delivery platform attempts to make the shift towards profitability.
Aurora, a self-driving vehicle startup, will acquire the unit using equity, valuing Advanced Technologies Group at $4 billion. In addition Uber will make an investment in Aurora of $400 million. Once the transaction is completed, Uber will have a 26% stake in Aurora. So, while the company will no longer be in the business of developing an autonomous vehicle, it will still have significant financial exposure.
Beyond the advantage of increasing profitability, there are advantages to Uber offloading ATG. Namely, it limits potential controversy and legal liability. The division has faced opposition since 2018 after a fatal accident in Arizona, after which the company suspended testing in Arizona and chose not to renew its license in the state.