Uber is currently in discussions to sell its Advanced Technologies Group (ATG) self-driving vehicles unit to Aurora, TechCrunch reported. Aurora Innovation was founded by former programme leaders at Google, Tesla and Uber, and the two firms have been in talks since October for the sale, which is ‘far along in the process,’ the report said, adding that both parties declined to comment.

Known for its ride-sharing business, Uber “has been shopping” ATG to several companies including automakers throughout this year, TechCrunch quoted four industry sources as saying. Should Uber ATG be offloaded, it will follow a string of spin-offs or other deals in recent months that will have once again narrowed Uber’s focus and expenditures into its core areas of ride-hailing and delivery services, it said.

The past 11 months has seen Uber let go of its shared micromobility unit Jump, sell a stake in its logistics division Uber Freight, and in its place acquired Postmates, whose acquisition is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year, said TechCrunch.

Toyota announced in September 2018 that it would invest US$500 million (RM2.05 billion) into Uber, which subsequently secured another US$1 billion (RM4.1 billion) in funding from Toyota, auto components manufacturer Denso and the Vision Fund from SoftBank.

The ATG unit, along with ‘other technologies’ including Uber Elevate recorded a net loss of US$303 million (RM1.24 billion) in the nine months ending September 2020, according to the report.

Some US$457 million (RM1.88 billion) in research and development expenses were incurred for the ATG and initiatives for other technology programmes, said Uber. The Hyundai S-A1 Urban Air Mobility concept that was unveiled at CES 2020 in January was to be part of the Uber Elevate air mobility programme, joining aviation firms Bell, Embraer and Aurora Flight Services (a Boeing subsidiary).

Uber ATG has more than 1,200 employees with operations in places including Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto, and Uber holds an 86.2% stake in ATG, while Uber investors hold a combined stake of 13.8% in ATG, reported TechCrunch.

Aurora was founded in 2017, and has since grown to have 600 employees with operations in the San Francisco Bay Area, Pittsburgh, Texas and Bozeman, Montana, the latter home to lidar company Blackmore which Aurora acquired in 2019. About 12% of Aurora’s current personnel previously worked at Uber, noted TechCrunch.