Troubled transportation network provider Uber has pulled the plug on its efforts to develop autonomous cars and sold its Advanced Technology Group (ATG) to start-up Aurora. With a $400 million investment and the handover of the technology and the entire ATG workforce of 1,200 employees, Uber and its partners are acquiring a 40% stake (26% Uber, 14% partners) in Aurora.
Aurora thus triples its workforce from 600 to 1,800 employees and quadruples the company’s valuation to $10 billion.
Uber had started in 2016 their own program for the development of self-driving cars, and initially had good success. In addition to robotaxis, the company also developed robotrucks with the acquisition of Ot.to. Following a lawsuit by Waymo claiming that a former employee had stolen trade secrets and taken them to Uber (Uber lost the lawsuit and had to pay Waymo a $245 million equity stake in Uber as part of the settlement) and a fatal accident with a test vehicle in Chandler, Uber had to temporarily suspend its activities. Difficulties with test permits, the departure of CEO and founder Travis Kalanick, and allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace and a toxic workplace culture meant that little progress was made in the money-guzzling development work.
This article was also published in German.