Uber leader Dara Khosrowshahi announced tonight that the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Vision Fund, automaker Toyota and automotive supplier Denso have made a $ 1 billion investment. The news confirms an article by The Wall Street Journal which was released earlier this week and reported that Uber was about to finance its autonomous department, Uber Advanced Technologies Group (UberATG).
Khosrowshahi posted the investment with a tweet containing a photo of the Chief Executive alongside the executives of SoftBank, Toyota and Denso. According to the enclosed press release, the capital injection estimates Uber's self-drive unit at $ 7.25 billion before the company plans to go public this year. Uber's IPO, which has not yet set a deadline, is expected to raise approximately $ 1
Investment conditions indicate that Toyota and Denso will contribute $ 667 million, while SoftBank's Vision Fund will contribute $ 333 million. The transaction should not surprise those who closely monitor Uber's finances. The company already received $ 500 million of Toyota's investment in August 2018, specifically to accelerate self-drive. This included the retrofitting of a fleet retrofitted by Toyota Sienna to test the autonomous technology of Uber and from 2021 commercial use.  "This investment and our strong partnership with the Toyota Group testify to the incredible work of our ATG team and the exciting future of this important project alongside great partners," Khosrowshahi said in a statement. "The development of automated driving technology will change traffic as we know it, make our roads safer and make our cities more liveable. Today's announcement and ongoing relationships with OEMs and suppliers will help maintain Uber's position at the top of this transformation. "
The funding is a sign of the trust of UberATG from the Japanese financial and automotive industries after a few years of bumpy development of state research and development. Just last month, the company avoided lawsuits over the death of an autonomous car that took place in March last year, claiming the lives of 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg. The fatal accident ended Uber's testing program in Tempe, Arizona, but the company has since resumed testing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where UberATG is headquartered.
In addition to the crash, UberATG was involved in a controversial trade secret lawsuit involving competing self-propelled company Waymo, which is owned by Google's parent company Alphabet. This is a lawsuit that came to a surprise solution in the courtroom last February after only a week. Uber partially closed its self-propelled trucking unit due to the lawsuit, despite the company continuing to work with the Division's engineers on an internal Lidar project and continuing to develop a software delivery logistics platform called Uber Freight.