By David Shepardson
NEWYORK (Reuters) – Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi said on Wednesday the ride-hailing company was on track to launch an initial public offering next year and had no plans to sell its self-driving car research arm.
Khosrowshahi told Reuters in an interview that the company was not planning to sell its Advanced Technologies Group “at this time.”
“Ultimately, it is a big asset that we are building and we can monetize that in whatever way we want to. It’s not something we’re thinking about it at this point,” he said.
Khosrowshahi also said Uber was “quite optimistic” it would be able to resume testing of self-driving cars later this year after a fatal crash involving an autonomous Uber car in Tempe, Arizona in March.
He said “absolutely” that Advanced Technologies Group would be part of Uber after the IPO, but it also would partner with other companies that are building self-driving technology.
Last month, Toyota Motor Corp <7203.T> said it would invest $500 million (387.63 million pounds)in Uber to jointly develop self-driving cars.
Khosrowshahi, who has led the company for a year, said he was not concerned if rival ride-hailing firm Lyft went public first because he expected enough demand for both companies.
“Historically, there has been plenty of funding for Uber, for Lyft, etc. and we don’t think that’s going to change,” he said. “This is an enormous market we are going after.”
At a media event on Wednesday, Khosrowshahi unveiled new efforts to ensure the safety of U.S. drivers and passengers by using software to detect unusual events including crashes.
He said Uber would use software to flag atypcal rides and would contact drivers and riders in the event of a possible crash in what it calls “Ride Check.” The feature could be prompted by a long unexpected stop during a trip.
Uber also plans to use sensors on the driver’s phone to analyze acceleration data and other factors to detect probable crashes.
Uber would protect riders’ information by concealing specific pickup and dropoff addresses in a driver’s trip history, the company added.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Richard Chang)