Uber buys Israeli autonomous driving startup for $680 million


(JNS.org) The ride-sharing service Uber is purchasing the Israeli startup Otto Motors, which converts regular trucks into autonomous ones, for $680 million, Israel Hayom reported.

The Uber app. Credit: Freestocks.org via Flickr.

Otto, founded by Israeli entrepreneur Lior Ron and other former employees of Google, Apple, and Tesla, manufactures artificial intelligence, cameras, and sensors that can be connected to a vehicle and give it the capability to operate without a driver. The startup is currently testing trucks with the high-tech capability in the San Francisco Bay area.

Otto’s technology could revolutionize the trucking industry, especially since one in three truckers currently are involved in serious accidents each year. The technology can "provide a path to sustainable commercial transportation,” Otto’s online blog states.

Uber is not the only American company acquiring an Israeli startup in the realm of autonomous driving. Earlier this week, the Ford Motor Co. announced it had acquired SAIPS, an Israeli startup focusing on self-driving technology.

"We're delighted and excited to join the Ford family in general, and especially its autonomous car program…We're thrilled to discover in Ford a professional environment that fosters innovation and dynamism, and we're enthusiastic about the potential cooperation and our common future,” SAIPS co-founder and CEO Udy Danino said in a statement.

Posted on August 19, 2016 .