Yandex, which is effectively Russia’s answer to Google, and Uber have agreed to spin out their self-driving vehicle unit from their ride-hailing and food delivery joint venture, MLU.
The Yandex Self Driving Group (Yandex SDG) will gain an $150m cash injection from Yandex, $100m in the form of equity and $50m coming in the form of a convertible loan. Yandex will own 73 per cent of the company, while Uber gets 19 per cent and the remaining eight per cent goes to Yandex SDG 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 SDG currently has a fleet of 130 autonomous vehicles, which have self-driven over 4m miles across Russia, Israel, and the US. To date, as the latest deal is subject the usual regulatory processes, Yandex has invested around $65m into its autonomous project.