Autonomous vehicle company Aurora Innovation sent offers to more than 75% of Uber employees on Thursday Advanced Technologies Group, just a week after announcing plans to acquire the self-driving subsidiary, according to a source familiar with the post-merger integration plans.
Uber ATG Toronto, which employs around 50 people where the subsidiary has done its research and development, did not make the cut, according to a source. Neither did Uber ATG's chief scientist, Raquel Urtasun, who led Uber ATG's research and development team, either. It was previously confirmed that Eric Meyhofer, CEO of Uber ATG, would not join Aurora after the deal was closed. To date, it was unclear whether Urtasun, Professor at the University of Toronto and Canadian Research Chair in Machine Learning and Computer Vision and co-founder of the Vector Institute for AI, would switch to Aurora. Urtasun is a leading expert in machine perception for self-driving cars.
Of Uber ATG's 1,200 employees, more than 850 received email offers from Aurora Co-Founder and CEO Chris Urmson. In the email, an excerpt that TechCrunch viewed, Urmson said deciding who to choose was a difficult one. He noted that the decisions were based on Aurora's specific business needs, such as: B. areas of overlap, relative impacts and management reports.
Aurora did not want to comment on the offers, but confirmed that Uber's Toronto office would not be integrated into the newly combined company. An Uber spokesperson also confirmed that the Toronto research and development laboratory would not be integrated into the joint organization.
“As an independent company focused on our long-term growth and success, we need to consider where and how we are using resources. To accomplish our mission, we are researching our development processes and engineering, rather than having a separate research and development team, ”an Aurora spokesperson wrote in an email statement. “We have great respect for Raquel Urtasun and her team. The impact they are having on both the ATG team and the industry in general is incredible. Although she and her team will not continue with Aurora, we wish them every success. "
If every Uber ATG employee who received an offer accepted it, Aurora would more than double in size. Prior to the acquisition announcement, Aurora employed approximately 600 people in its offices in Palo Alto, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and Texas. Uber ATG had offices in Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto.
Aurora and Uber have been in talks for months before reaching a complex deal that will value the combined company at $ 10 billion. Aurora doesn't pay cash for Uber ATG, a company valued at $ 7.25 billion after a $ 1 billion investment last year by Toyota, DENSO, and SoftBank's Vision Fund. Instead, Uber is turning its equity over to ATG and investing $ 400 million in Aurora, giving it a 26% stake in the combined company, according to a filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Uber ATG shareholders will now become minority shareholders in Aurora.
At the time the contract was announced, Urmson told TechCrunch that the next 60 days would be spent bringing the two teams together and "dispassionately examining which technology brings our first product to market and then reinforces it."