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Uber air taxi technology – with DFW partners – sold off to Joby Aviation

🕐 2 min read

A day after Uber sold off its autonomous vehicles development arm, the San Francisco-based ride hailing company has also announced its Uber Elevate aerial ride hailing group is being acquired by Santa Cruz-based Joby Aviation.

Joby Aviation is a transportation company developing an all-electric, vertical take-off and landing passenger aircraft, which it intends to operate as early as 2023.

The cost of the transaction was not released, but as part of the deal, Uber Technologies Inc (NYSE: UBER) has agreed to invest a further $75 million in Joby as part of a broader transaction involving the acquisition of Uber Elevate by Joby and an expanded partnership between the two parent companies. This investment comes in addition to a previously undisclosed $50 million investment made as part of Joby’s Series C financing round in January 2020.

Uber Elevate has identified the Dallas-Fort Worth area as one of its key development locations and has partnered with Bell and Hillwood to work on the technology and plans.

Under the terms of the deal, Joby Aviation will acquire Uber Elevate, while the two parent companies have agreed to integrate their respective services into each other’s apps, enabling integration between ground and air travel for future customers. The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close in early Q1 2021, subject to regulatory review and customary closing conditions.

On Monday, self-driving vehicle technology company Aurora announced it will acquire the employees and technology behind Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group in a stock transaction.

Uber will also invest $400 million into Aurora, and Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will join Aurora’s board of directors.

After the transaction, Aurora will be worth $10 billion and Uber will hold 26% stake in the company, Aurora CEO Chris Urmson said in an interview.

“Our first product will be in trucking and freight, but we look forward to taking this great team that we have and accelerating that while continuing working on light vehicles and ride-haling, and we’ll ultimately see our vehicles deploying on the Uber network,” Urmson said.

Uber will not have exclusive rights as a ride-hailing company to Aurora’s technology, but the two companies will have a “preferred relationship,” Urmson said.

San Francisco-based Uber will lose a critical piece of its company after the pandemic cut into its finances by suppressing demand for shared rides. Its path to profitability has often been linked with its plans to deploy autonomous vehicles and reduce the high cost of paying drivers. – Associated Press contributed to this report

Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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