Uber Open To Partner With Competitors In Autonomous Driving Segment

The United States based ride hailing company Uber has said that its self-driving unit is seeking to strike partnerships with other companies that are currently working on autonomous driving and self-driving vehicles, said the company’s chief executive officer on Wednesday.

“Our view is that we will partner with other autonomous providers over a period of time,” Dara Khosrowshahi said at the RBC Capital Markets conference. His comments came in reference to a question about reports Uber currently is looking to sell its autonomous driving unit, Advanced Technologies Group (ATG).

A large customer base and valuable data on profitable methods that can be generated through its ride-hailing business can be offered by Uber to those competitors who have already made investments of billions of dollars into the development of robotaxis, he said.

There were reports in the media last week about negotiations being carried on between the ride hailing firm and self-driving car startup Aurora for selling of the formers’ autonomous driving unit called Uber Advanced Technologies Group (ATG).

Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp and SoftBank Group Corp are among the investors in Uber’s ATG which is engaged in the development of autonomous driving technology. A consortium of investors including SoftBank had invested $1 billion (758 million pounds) in the Uber’s unit earlier last year. That round of fund raising set the value of the unit at $7.25 billion.

The reports claimed that Uber was looking at various options to reduce expenditure at the costly unit with the realization that fully self-driven vehicles were still several years away.

While making no direct comments on the reports, Khosrowshahi said that the aim of Uber was to develop an open network for ATG and generate finds for the unit both form within as well as externally.

“We’re going to be pursuing all paths forward here,” the CEO said.

Uber was open to using technology from competitors in the industry, Khosrowshahi had said in May.

Since the novel coronavirus pandemic hit the world, Khosrowshahi has been shifting the focus of the company to its core businesses which includes ride-hailing and food delivery and since then Uber has been trying to find out various options that it has for its autonomous vehicle division.

External investors, including Toyota and Softbank, have so far reportedly made investments of $1 billion in ATG and the unit had a valuation of $7.25 billion at the end of the last funding round.

Completely automated and self-driving vehicles that required no human intervention of any sorts was still at least 10 to 15 years away and local regulations significantly impacted the development of such technologies, Khosrowshahi said.

(Adapted from NDTV.com)

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