Yandex and Uber agree to spin out self-driving venture
Posted: 7 September 2020 | Sam Mehmet (Intelligent Transport)
As part of the spin out transaction, Yandex will invest $150 million into the new standalone company, Yandex Self Driving Group (SDG).
Yandex and Uber have announced their agreement to spin out their self-driving joint venture into its own company. Following these transactions, Yandex Self Driving Group will be directly owned by Yandex and Uber.
Simultaneously with the spin off transaction, Yandex will invest $150 million into Yandex SDG, $100 million of which will be in the form of equity and the remaining $50 million in the form of a convertible loan. Yandex, which originally started as a search engine, will also purchase a portion of Uber’s stake in Yandex SDG. As a result, Yandex will own 73 per cent, while Uber will own 19 per cent. The remaining eight per cent will be reserved for management and employees.
“We are excited to increase our stake in this strategically important part of our business,” said Arkady Volozh, Chief Executive Officer of Yandex. “In just a short period of time, we have achieved breakthrough results in autonomous driving. We firmly believe in the future of autonomous mobility as a safe and cost-effective form of transportation with a vast addressable market. The additional capital that we are investing in SDG will allow it to continue to pursue the R&D and productisation of autonomous mobility.”
Yandex has been developing its proprietary self-driving technology since 2017. As of today, the autonomous vehicle fleet has 130 cars, which have driven over four million autonomous miles on public roads in various weather and road conditions in three countries – Russia, Israel and the United States.
Since late 2019, the company also has been developing its own delivery robot, Yandex.Rover, aimed at the autonomous delivery of small and medium-sized packages. The robot aims to help to automate last-mile delivery of goods within our ecosystem and beyond, as well as to offer a sustainable way to deliver food and goods.
“We’ve been developing technology that can be applied to various types of vehicles and that is suitable for different road, traffic and weather conditions around the world,” said Dmitry Polishchuk, CEO of Yandex SDG. “There is still a lot to be done to apply this technology to ride-hailing, food delivery, ecommerce, and many more adjacent categories in the longer-term. The creation of a new company, with significant support from Yandex, positions us well for the further acceleration of our development and to achieve our goal of creating a safe and efficient transportation ecosystem.”
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2020.