This is not investment advice. The author has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Wccftech.com has a disclosure and ethics policy.
The funds, of which $667 million were raised from the Japanese auto-parts supplier Denso, with the remaining $333 million coming from Softbank's Vision Fund, is getting injected into Uber's Advanced Technologies Group, ATG for short. Today's latest round of investments into ATG values the division at around $7 billion and will actually function semi-autonomously complete with an independent board of directors.
Uber's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi doesn't mince words when it comes to the importance of Uber's ability to deploy a self-driving fleet:
The development of automated driving technology will transform transportation as we know it, making our streets safer and our cities more livable. Today's announcement, along with our ongoing OEM and supplier relationships, will help maintain Uber's position at the forefront of that transformation.
The planned investment won't close before Uber's IPO, and in fact, won't close for some months after until around Q3 at the earliest. The firm has been making a splash here and there ahead of its IPO and it seems the firm is attempting to generate as much hype as possible when it comes to its future prospects. We reported last month that Uber gobbled up its primary competition in the Middle East, Careem.
Expect to hear about further investments and focus at Uber's ATG. The CEO and other leaders inside the company aren't simply paying lip service to the idea, its absolutely critical that a fleet of self driving cars feasibly materialize at Uber before they do at Lyft or any rival yet unseen. The news may sound grim to current drivers who make a living picking up ride-share passengers, but there will be a huge cost advantage to the company that can eliminate the cost of drivers once and for all.