After dumping its ATG or advanced technologies unit which was working on self-driving cars, Uber has also ejected its flying car division called Elevate. It has sold Elevate to air taxi service Joby Aviation. This is a similar deal to the one Uber has struck with Aurora for self-driving cars where Uber promised to invest $400 million in the start-up. This time around it is investing $75 million in Joby Aviation to co-develop the technology for flying cars. It will also become a partner when Joby Aviation has a go-to-market strategy.
It is quite clear that Uber is under pressure to get money-losing ventures off its books but it also doesn't want to let go of the hard work it has already done so in both cases it has found a partner in which it is investing and committing to being a customer.
Joby was founded in 2009 and has since mostly raised $720 million most of which has come from Toyota. Uber had earlier invested $50 million in Joby Aviation which brings its investment into the company at $125 million.
“I know there are questions about whether Uber has any ‘big, bold' bets left,” the Uber chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, said in an email to company employees that was viewed by The New York Times. “I understand that question, but I think it misses the big, bold bets right in front of us: to become the undisputed global leaders in both Mobility and Delivery," he added in that internal mail.
It is likely, like Aurora, Uber hasn't made any money from offloading Elevate to Joby Aviation but has offloaded engineering staff to the company and invested in it so that it can keep developing the technology from the sidelines.