Uber swallows self-driving truck startup Otto for $680 million

Ride-hailing giant Uber announced on Thursday that is has acquired Otto for approximately $680 million.

All of Otto’s team, which includes ex-leader of Google’s self-driving project, Anthony Levandowski, will move to Uber. They will work on the company’s self-driving project and report directly to CEO Travis Kalanick.

See also: Self-driving tech startup Otto wants truckers to keep on…napping

Otto’s research facilities in Palo Alto and San Francisco will continue to operate, and will share data with Uber’s Pittsburgh research center.

The acquisition price, at the time of writing, is calculated at $680 million by Bloomberg. That’s the value of slightly less than one percent equity in Uber, which Otto investors will receive. Uber will also provide 20 percent of the profits from its future trucking business, giving investors a long term reward for the acquisition.

Otto was not planning to build its own trucks, instead utilizing the current big rigs and installing a self-driving system inside. The startup has built its own sensors, including a LiDAR sensor, which is a useful radar tool for self-driving systems.

“Together with Uber, we will create the future of commercial transportation: first, self-driving trucks that provide drivers unprecedented levels of safety; and second, a platform that matches truck drivers with the right load wherever they are,” said Otto in a blog post confirming the acquisition.

Uber wants control of entire transport industry

Uber has been investing heavily into new transportation sectors in the past year, including food and commercial delivery. Long haul trucking might seem like a huge step for the private firm—valued at more than $60 billion—but it is just another move to make Uber the de-facto brand for all types of transport.

The acquisition announcement came a few hours after Uber and Volvo announced a $300 million investment into self-driving. Volvo will provide 100 SUVs to the Pittsburgh research center, which will be deployed on the roads by the end of the month.

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