There are funds that invest in a wide portfolio of energy companies, or other markets. It's making a bet on self driving cars without picking winners. I suppose it is picking incumbents generally, but that's hard to avoid.
I dunnno if it's a good strategy, but it's not an ilogical one.
Yet, they invest $500+660m (with Denso) in what is empirically proven to be a reckless team in Pittsburgh.
Uber's q4 revenue was $3bn ($1bn loss)
Lets say they triple revenue to $40bn pa in 10 years, while growing into profitability... call it 10% profit margin over the 10 yr period... it'd be impressive, considering margin is currently negative 30%.^
That makes <$30bn profit in 10 years. Uber's IPO valuation is estimated around $100bn.
In any case, lets also say you believe L5 self driving will be rolling out by 2030. Uber seems to. At this point, the current business model (uber of driving) starts declining. Self driving is the only obvious replacement.
You really need to expect very big things from uber in the self driving space. If self driving is coming, there isn't time to make money from the current business model. If it isn't, uber is betting on the wrong things.
^You could assume even faster growth but given their current losses, size limitations, etc... it starts getting beyond optimism to expect any profit. This isn't google or fb. Uber have competition.
$457mn in 2018, $384mn in 2017, $230mn in 2016.
"On a quarterly basis, research and development expenses have varied based on the timing of our investments associated with ongoing improvements to, and maintenance of, our platform offerings, and ATG and Other Technology Programs. Research and development expenses have increased in all quarters with the exception of the fourth quarter of 2018, when investments in ATG were delayed until 2019."
2017: $83mn $101mn $91mn $102mn
2018: $117mn $129mn $116mn $89mn