Uber is in talks to sell its autonomous vehicle unit to startup competitor Aurora Innovation, TechCrunch reported. If it comes to pass, the sale of Uber Advanced Technologies Group (UberATG), would mark the end of a bumpy road for a division of Uber that was valued at $7.25 billion as recently as last July, but which has been plagued with ongoing problems.
In March of 2019, Uber avoided criminal charges in the 2018 death of Elaine Herzberg in Tempe, Arizona, the first-ever death involving an autonomous car. Federal investigators found that Uber, the safety driver behind the wheel of the car, and the state of Arizona all shared a portion of the blame for the incident. The accident ended Uber’s test program in Tempe, but the company resumed testing in Pittsburgh, where UberATG is headquartered.
And UberATG was involved in a trade secrets lawsuit with competitor Waymo, owned by Google parent company Alphabet. Uber settled the case unexpectedly in February of 2018.
And according to Uber’s most recent earnings report, while its “ATG and other technologies” segment had revenues of $25 million in the third quarter, the segment saw a net loss of $303 million for the nine months ended September 30th, according to TechCrunch.
Aurora was founded in 2017 by Chris Urmson, the former lead engineer for Google’s self-driving project. Much of its focus has been on developing technology for self-driving trucks. The startup’s most recent valuation was about $2.5 billion, and Aurora said in July it was expanding its testing of autonomous vehicles into Texas.
Aurora and Uber did not immediately reply to requests for comment Saturday.