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Uber's self-driving car unit lost $20 million a month. That's normal.

A woman on the phone walks by an Uber advertisement.
Photo: Faris Hadziq/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Newly unsealed court documents reveal that Uber's self-driving car unit was burning through $20 million a month in the run-up to this year's expected IPO.

The bottom line: Self-driving cars require billions of dollars of investment, with no guarantee of success. Many companies will lose their shirt.

"The figures, dating back to 2016, paint a picture of a company desperate to meet over-ambitious autonomy targets and one that is willing to spend freely, even recklessly, to get there," TechCrunch's Mark Harris reports.

My thought bubble: What's the big deal?

Go deeper: Lyft beats Uber to IPO as ride-hailing rivalry heats up

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