- Uber is in talks to sell its self-driving vehicle division, ATG, to autonomous vehicle startup Aurora, TechCrunch reported Friday.
- ATG has been hobbled by a deadly crash, infighting, and unreliable tech — leading investors to lose patience and sparking rumors the company would try to offload the struggling unit.
- Despite a previous $7.25 billion valuation, ATG was facing an upcoming investment round that would have valued it at less than that, according to TechCrunch, as Uber has doubled down on its core ride-hailing and food delivery businesses during the pandemic.
- Aurora, a major player in the AV world, is headed up by former leaders of AV initiatives at Uber, Google, and Tesla.
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Uber is looking to get rid of its self-driving vehicle division, Advanced Technologies Group (ATG), and AV startup Aurora Innovation is a likely candidate to acquire it, TechCrunch reported Friday.
Sources told TechCrunch that Uber “has been shopping” ATG to multiple potential buyers including some automakers, but that talks with Aurora, which began in October, are far along.
“We don’t comment on rumor or speculation,” an Aurora spokesperson told Business Insider, while Uber did not respond to a request for comment.
Despite ambitious goals, ATG has long struggled to make significant progress toward a fully-autonomous vehicle that can safely and efficiently move passengers and goods, while losing money along the way — leading to speculation in recent months that Uber would look to offload the struggling business unit.
According to TechCrunch, ATG was facing a possible “down round,” where investors were considering dropping the division’s valuation from its previous $7.25 billion valuation.
Uber launched ATG five years ago, and in its short life, the division has been plagued by multiple scandals and setbacks, bleeding money along the way — Uber reported $303 million in net losses for “ATG and other technologies” in its third quarter.
Read more: Uber ATG has been hobbled by a deadly crash, infighting, and balky tech — and investors are losing patience with the self-driving division
Employees told Business Insider’s Julie Bort a deadly 2018 crash in Phoenix — the first AV incident to kill a pedestrian — exposed flaws in ATG’s technology as well as poor decision-making and infighting. (Uber was found not criminally liable for the incident, while the human back-up driver was charged with negligent homicide).
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The former head of Uber’s self-driving division, Anthony Levandowski, was also at the center of a massive legal fight between Uber and Google’s self-driving group, now called Waymo, over stolen technology. Uber fired Levandowski, who was recently sentenced to 18 months in prison for trade secret theft, in 2017 after he refused to testify in the case.
In September, The Information reported that an