how aurora uber volvo uber toyotaboudwaybloomberg

After years of positioning itself as a leader in the self-driving car space, Uber announced in 2021 that it will be selling its self-driving car unit, Aurora, to refocus on its core businesses. This change of direction sparks a wide range of questions, from the future of self-driving cars to the impact this will have on Uber’s operations.

As we explore the implications of this shift, we must first look at the history of the self-driving car unit and what drove Uber to make this decision.

Overview of Uber’s Self-Driving Car Unit

Uber is a company that started as an app connecting private drivers with people looking for rides. However, in recent years, Uber made news with its ambitions to develop self-driving cars. As a result, Uber created a separate self-driving car unit focused on developing and producing autonomous vehicles to pursue this ambition.

However, in December 2020, Uber announced the sale of its self-driving car unit to Aurora Innovation Inc., a startup focusing on autonomous vehicle technologies. This enabled Uber to refocus on its core businesses such as ride-hailing and food delivery services. It also provided Aurora with resources for expanding its autonomous vehicle capabilities.

The move came after several setbacks for Uber’s self-driving car efforts, including a fatal crash in Arizona in 2018 involving an Uber self-driving test vehicle and internal problems with reports of dysfunction within the unit itself. The sale was seen by many as a strategic decision by the company to focus on what it does best and put resources into the core businesses that have brought them success thus far.

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

After once touting the prospects of self-driving cars, Uber has decided to sell its unit to focus on its core businesses. This move has surprised many, as the company had invested heavily in its self-driving division.

Let’s examine why Uber has decided to sell its self-driving car unit.

Refocusing on Core Businesses

In December 2020, Uber announced that it was selling its self-driving car unit, which was once considered a major part of the company’s future. After committing to investing in the technology in 2016 and launching pilots in 2017, Uber sold the unit to Aurora Innovation for an undisclosed price.

The sale of the self-driving car unit is part of Uber’s strategy to refocus on its core businesses. This includes continued investment and development of its ride-sharing apps, meal delivery services and freight hauling network. It also includes ongoing partnerships with larger companies such as Toyota and Volvo, who contribute significantly to investment in research and development opportunities for autonomous vehicles.

Further, Uber has noted that the sale fits into their broader plan for achieving improved sustainability goals by leveraging existing resources more effectively. Additionally, by aligning itself more closely with its core businesses, Uber is increasing its overall efficiency while still keeping autonomy on the horizon in areas like autonomous machines rental or longer-term rental solutions, incentives programs or even automated cargo delivery services.

As a result of this shift in strategy, Uber expects to see accelerated progress towards profitability while continuing to offer exceptional experiences for customers globally. In addition, the move underscores the importance of finding smart solutions that ensure long-term success while continuing to engage customers around product innovation.

Regulatory Hurdles

One of the primary reasons Uber decided to cease operations for its self-driving car division was because of the numerous regulatory obstacles it faced. Despite having invested billions into the technology, Uber found itself limited in what it could do on public roads due to regulations that were imposed by states and countries around the world.

aurora uber volvo uber toyotaboudwaybloomberg

The company noted that as more driverless cars began to appear on roadways, safety regulations were implemented that severely limited their operations and scope of testing capabilities. Additionally, these regulations raised legal issues associated with liability in the event of any accidents involving their vehicles while they were operating autonomously.

By selling its self-driving car division, Uber can turn its attention away from these regulatory hurdles and back towards growing its core businesses.

Cost of Developing Self-Driving Technology

One of the major reasons for Uber’s decision to sell its self-driving car unit is the high cost associated with developing autonomous vehicle technology. While there have been tremendous advances in AI and robotics over the past few years, fully developing automated driving capabilities is extremely expensive. Some estimates put the cost at over a billion dollars!

For a company like Uber, whose core competency is on-demand transportation services and not AI-driven autonomous vehicles, investing heavily in such technology would be too costly and unwarranted. Furthermore, companies like Waymo posed significant competition for Uber regarding self-driving vehicle technology development. Therefore, to focus its resources on its main businesses and avoid being outspent by rivals in self-driving tech, Uber strategically decided to divest this unit.

Impact of Sale

After once touting its self-driving car efforts, Uber is now selling its autonomous vehicle division to refocus on its core businesses. As a result, the sale of its AV unit will significantly impact Uber and the autonomous vehicle industry.

In this article, we’ll discuss the implications of the sale and what it could mean for the future of autonomous vehicles.

Increased Competition

Since Uber first began touting self-driving cars to revolutionize its transportation business, it has faced increased competition from other market players. This competition has made it difficult for Uber to remain competitive in the highly specialized and rapidly evolving field of autonomous technology. As a result, the company has decided to refocus its efforts on strengthening its core business areas such as ride-hailing, food delivery and freight logistics.

aurora uber atg volvo uber toyotaboudwaybloomberg

As competitors have risen in the sector with deep pockets, sophisticated technology and experience in self-driving vehicles, it has been challenging for Uber to keep up with the competition. Companies such as Alphabet’s Waymo LLC, General Motors Co.’s Cruise Automation LLC and Argo AI have become frontrunners in the fast-changing industry of self-driving cars. In a reaction to this strong competition in the autonomous vehicle industry, Uber took advantage of an opportunity presented by Aurora Innovation Inc., which bought its Advanced Technologies Group several months back. This allowed Uber to focus more energies on refining their core businesses while keeping their vision of futuristic transportation alive by transferring it into another more experienced entity.

The sale of its self-driving car unit is intended to enable Uber to redirect resources into areas where they can succeed over competitors. By regrouping their efforts onto ride-hailing services which remain their core competency for now, they are hoping that better services can be provided leading them back onto an even competitive playing field filled with stakeholders from all around the world.

New Opportunities

After once touting self-driving cars as the next frontier for its business, Uber has recently refocused on its core businesses. The company recently announced the sale of its self-driving car unit, the Advanced Technologies Group (ATG), to Aurora Innovation, LLC. This decision came after years of development and a million dollar investment from Uber’s previous CEO Travis Kalanick.

how aurora uber atg volvo toyotaboudwaybloomberg

The sale indicates that Uber is doubling down on the ride-hailing business and investing more heavily in the food delivery and freight businesses. By selling its ATG unit to Aurora Innovation, Uber can use these resources to spur innovation in these other core areas and focus more on initiatives closer to their mission. Going forward, this move should create new opportunities for both companies and further Uber’s commitment to providing world-class service and safety across all its transportation platforms.


Uber’s recent decision to sell its self-driving car unit, once touted as the key to autonomous vehicle development, marks a shift in strategy for the company. After obtaining significant financing and making gains in technology advancements over the past few years, Uber has decided to focus more on its core businesses.

By selling the Advanced Technologies Group (ATG) to Aurora Innovation former employee, Tobias Lütke, and his partner Hopin’s CEO Tobi Lüthke, Uber can refocus its resources on traditionally occupied areas central to their operations such as ride-hailing and food delivery. In addition, the sale will enable Uber to increase their financial resources available for other strategic initiatives.

With this move, Uber has decided to invest in their core businesses instead of pouring more money into a technology rapidly becoming obsolete due to waning interest from investors and new competitors entering the space. In addition, by focusing on what they have always been good at — connecting drivers with passengers — Uber can ensure that drivers and riders believe the company will be around for years.

In this way, by selling off its self-driving car unit after once touting it as an integral part of its business plan, Uber exemplifies how companies must constantly keep up with changing markets and customer needs to remain competitive while reaping rewards from refocusing investments on core business initiatives.

tags = Self-Driving Cars, Uber, Advanced Technologies Group, autonomous vehicle research unit, aurora uber atg volvo toyotaboudwaybloomberg, $400 million, IPO,