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Uber ditches self-driving car plans, sells business to Aurora

Uber will invest in Aurora to help bring the technology to life and benefit from Aurora's expected progress in the future.

Uber Advanced Technologies Group
Uber ATG is now part of Aurora.

It's a fork in the road for Uber's self-driving car business. On Monday, startup Aurora announced it will acquire the ride-hailing company's Advanced Technologies Group, which has spent the past few years developing autonomous vehicle technology. The deal will bring Aurora's approximate valuation to $10 billion.

"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," Chris Urmson, Aurora CEO, said on the acquisition. "Simply put, Aurora will be the company best positioned to deliver the self-driving products necessary to make transportation and logistics safer, more accessible, and less expensive."

Aurora commended what ATG accomplished under Uber thus far and called out advances in hardware, software and safety. The company rolled out an in-depth safety case framework two years ago to embed safety in every mile a self-driving car prototype takes. The division wasn't without its controversies, however: An Uber self-driving car prototype struck and killed a pedestrian the same year.

Although Uber exits the sector, it will still hold a minor link to its now-former division. The ride-hailing giant said it will invest $400 million in Aurora to partner with the company and bring autonomous technologies to life. Ideally, Aurora gains funding and a lot of brilliant minds, while Uber gets to benefit from the future technologies when they're ready without direct oversight. Aurora still plans to tackle commercial trucking with its technology first, but the Uber partnership may have the company primed to capitalize on ride hailing when the time is right.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said he looks forward to working alongside Aurora in the new partnership. Khosrowshahi will join the self-driving company's board of directors.