The autonomous vehicle spin-off has been backed by three corporates Toyota, SoftBank and Denso that have agreed to invest $1bn

US-based ride hailing company Uber spun off its autonomous driving division dubbed, Uber Advanced Technologies Group (Uber ATG). The spin-off received $1bn of backing from three corporate venturers. Automotive components manufacturer Denso and car maker Toyota agreed to invest jointly $667m while the Vision Fund, the $98.6bn fund managed by telecoms conglomerate SoftBank, agreed to provide the remaining $333m. The transaction reportedly valued Uber ATG at $7.25bn post-money.

Uber ATG is a subsidiary of Uber’s which is developing autonomous vehicle technologies including sensors and systems geared with object perception, motion and prediction planning, mapping as well as data visualisation technology.

The round is part of the broader autonomous vehicle tech space, which has seen much interest from corporate investors, as the GCV Analytics bar chart illustrates. The number of deals in this category saw its first peak in 2015, when it reached 89 corporate-backed rounds, only to go down to 38 the following year, and then go up considerably again in 2017 (81 rounds). More importantly, the total estimated capital in those rounds, a reflection of valuations, went up considerably in 2017 – $8.09bn, a four-fold increase from $1.89bn the previous year. It has decreased only slightly to $7.9bn over 69 deals in 2018. During the first quarter of this year, we tracked 26 deals, worth an estimated $4bn, which suggests that valuations of enterprises developing such tech remain high.