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Uber Sells Self-Driving Car Unit

Self-driving car company Aurora is going to be buying Uber‘s self-driving technology unit, Advanced Technologies Group (ATG), according to a press release.

The deal, subject to regulatory approval and closing conditions, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021, the release stated.

The acquisition will help to accelerate Aurora’s vision for the self-driving vehicle space, the release stated. ATG is “committed to rigorous testing and [has] built a strong safety culture,” and the acquisition will help “strengthen and accelerate” applications for the first Aurora Driver heavy-duty trucks as Aurora also continues working on lighter-duty projects.

Aurora will also undergo a strategic partnership with Uber that will connect Aurora’s technology to Uber’s network. The release stated this will help boost Aurora’s capabilities in working with autonomous trucking and passenger mobility.

Uber will also invest $400 million in Aurora, and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will join Aurora’s board of directors. Khosrowshahi said in the release that he believes in the potential of self-driving vehicles to improve peoples’ lives both through safety and environmental consideration.

Chris Urmson, co-founder and CEO of Aurora, said the addition of Uber’s people and technology will help in “shifting the landscape of the automated vehicle space.”

“With the addition of ATG, Aurora will have an incredibly strong team and technology, a clear path to several markets, and the resources to deliver,” he said, according to the release, adding the company will be able to “deliver the self-driving products necessary to make transportation and logistics safer, more accessible, and less expensive.”

Uber was considering selling the unit to Aurora last month. Aurora was founded in 2017 by an ex-Google lead engineer and has most recently been valued at $2.5 billion.

ATG has faced problems in its run, as well, including the death of a pedestrian, Elaine Herzberg, in Tempe, Arizona, in 2018, with a lawsuit finding that Uber, the state and the safety driver behind the wheel at the time all shared portions of the blame. There was also an incident in which ATG was involved in a lawsuit with competitor Waymo over trade secrets, and financial troubles were in the mix.

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