SoftBank and Benchmark are encouraging Uber to rediscover its self…driving strategy, per Bloomberg. The two investors are Uber’s largest shareholders, so they have CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s ear.
Last year, Khosrowshahi and co. turned Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group into a subsidiary and raised a round of outside funding (like Waymo), giving the unit some breathing room. But ATG is still a skunkworks lab that burns through $500 million/year. And it’s lost key talent recently. Cue Uber investors, who have urged the company to:
- Raise more external capital for ATG
- Open-source ATG’s self-driving platform, so outside developers and mobility companies can build on top of it
Some combination of (1) and (2) could theoretically help Uber unlock more value from its R&D without succumbing to the skunk cost fallacy.
Bottom line: Uber has long pushed self-driving as its deus ex machina, but so far that’s proven to be an illusion. As I’ve said before, the road to autonomous vehicles is paved with missed deadlines and moneybags. And there’s plenty of competition.
Via Morning Brew