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Uber May Sell Self-Driving Car Unit To Rival Aurora Innovation, Report Says

Uber may sell its autonomous vehicle unit Uber Advanced Technologies Group (UberATG) to a competitor, startup Aurora Innovation, according to a news report.

Aurora, which was founded in 2017 by a former Google lead engineer for the self-driving car project, was most recently valued at around $2.5 billion. The report says representatives from Uber and Aurora both declined to comment.

While UberATG was worth $7.25 billion last July, its ongoing problems have led it down a bumpy road in general.

That road included the autonomous vehicle-related death of Elaine Herzberg in Tempe, Arizona in 2018. A lawsuit found that Uber, along with the state of Arizona and the safety driver behind the wheel of the automatic car, all shared portions of the blame in the incident. That incident ended Uber’s autonomous vehicle program in the state at the time, but Uber ended up avoiding criminal charges.

The company later resumed testing in Pittsburgh, which is where UberATG was also located.

In addition, UberATG also found itself involved in a lawsuit concerning trade secrets with competitor Waymo, which is owned by Alphabet. Uber settled that lawsuit in February 2018, the report says.

There were also financial concerns, the report says, with Uber’s most recent earnings report finding that UberATG had a net loss of $303 million for the nine months ending Sept. 30., despite the report that “ATG and other technologies” had revenues of $25 million.

In September, PYMNTS reported that Uber Technologies was under investor pressure to go in a new direction with the self-driving car division, facing both the prospect of running out of money and competition from Waymo and Amazon‘s Zoox.

Aurora was recently allowed by the state of California’s Public Utilities Commission to let passengers ride in the company’s fleets of driverless vehicles, although there was no set date on when that would officially start. In January of 2020, Aurora had around a dozen self-driving vehicles used for testing on American roads.

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