Uber’s self-driving car unit grabs $1 billion in investment

Uber’s self-driving car unit has lured $1 billion in investment ahead of the company’s hotly anticipated stock market debut.

The ride-hailing firm said Thursday that Japanese tech group Softbank’s Vision Fund and car maker Toyota were among those providing the cash boost, which increases the value of Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group (ATG) to $7.25 billion.

Uber said in a statement it will use the cash to speed up the development of self-driving technologies.

“This investment and our strong partnership with the Toyota Group are a testament to the incredible work of our ATG team to date, and the exciting future ahead for this important project, alongside great partners,” said Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi in the statement.

“The development of automated driving technology will transform transportation as we know it, making our streets safer and our cities more livable,” he added.

Toyota and Japan-based automotive parts maker Denso together will invest $667 million into Uber’s ATG, while Softbank’s Vision Fund will stump up $333 million.

Toyota is an existing investor in Uber, having poured $500 million into the Silicon Valley start-up in August last year. Softbank’s Vision Fund, the brainchild of Japanese billionaire Masayoshi Son, is already Uber’s biggest shareholder with a 16.3% stake.

The latest cash injection into Uber comes in the run-up to the company’s eagerly awaited initial public offering, announced earlier in April. The stock market float is expected to be one of the biggest tech IPOs ever, despite Uber recording a $1.8 billion loss in its most recent financial year.

Uber’s self-driving division has not been without controversy. A self-driven Uber SUV struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona, in March 2018. Officials said earlier this year that Uber would not face criminal charges over the incident.

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the year of the fatal crash in Tempe, Arizona.