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After Once Touting Self-Driving Cars, Uber Sells Unit To Refocus On Core Businesses

An Uber sticker is seen on a car at the start of a protest by ride share drivers on Aug. 20, in Los Angeles. Uber said it will sell its self-driving research unit to startup Aurora.
Robyn Beck
/
AFP via Getty Images
An Uber sticker is seen on a car at the start of a protest by ride share drivers on Aug. 20, in Los Angeles. Uber said it will sell its self-driving research unit to startup Aurora.

Ride-hailing giant Uber is selling its autonomous vehicle research unit, Advanced Technologies Group, to the self-driving startup Aurora.

It's a significant symbolic shift for a company that just a few years ago promoted the development of self-driving technology as key to its long-term profitability.

Uber hasn't given up on the promise of autonomous vehicles. But after investing billions of dollars, it is now going to outsource that expensive effort.

Aurora, a startup founded by former Tesla, Uber and Google executives, is prioritizing self-driving technology for the commercial trucking sector over robotaxi systems.

Uber will also be investing $400 million in Aurora, in addition to transferring its ATG research group, Aurora said in a statement.

Uber has lost money since it was founded, and a highly anticipated IPO did not fare as well as expected.

Uber's self-driving technology also courted controversy after a high-profile fatal accidentin Arizona.

As the company continues to chase profitability, it appears to be refocusing attention on its core businesses — ride-hailing and food deliveries. Earlier this year, it sold its scooter and electric bike division to a micromobility company.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Camila Flamiano Domonoske covers cars, energy and the future of mobility for NPR's Business Desk.
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