Wednesday, 20 February, 2019

Amazon Invests in Self-Driving Car Startup Aurora Innovation

Aurora Innovation Lincoln test cars Aurora Innovation's future looks markedly brighter after scoring $530M in funding. Aurora Innovation
Priscilla Morrison | 10 February, 2019, 12:31

The company aims to accelerate the development of autonomous technology with the capital raised.

Aurora, a startup tech company investing in self-driving vehicle technology, has announced that it has secured over $530 million in financing from a series of investors, including venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, money manager T. Rowe Price Associates, and e-commerce giant Amazon.

Aurora's three founders are legendary within the tight community of roboticists and engineers who are leading the charge to make self-driving cars a reality.

Aurora is led by Chris Urmson, former head of the Google self-driving vehicle initiative. It was founded in 2016 by Chris Urmson, who led Google's self-driving auto project before it became Waymo.

Sterling Anderson, Aurora's chief product officer, previously led Tesla's Autopilot team that developed driver-assistance technology for the electric-car maker. Bagnell was a founder member of Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Centre and Uber's Advanced Technology Centre. The company presently employs around 250 workers split between its Bay Area and Pittsburgh campuses. The startup has remained fiercely independent, cultivating partnerships with Hyundai, Volkswagen and Byton while designing a suite of software, hardware and data services created to support a range of automakers and transportation networks.

Silicon Valley start-up Aurora said on Thursday it had raised $530m (£408m) from a group of backers including the online retail giant and fund management giant T Rowe Price.

More news: Backed forces lead final push against ISIS in Syria

"Over the last couple of years, we've met with more than 15 of the top autonomous vehicle companies from around the world", said Sequoia's Carl Eschenbach in an interview.

Last month, a Reddit user spotted a self-driving semi truck run by Embark Trucks, a startup integrating its software systems into Peterbilt vehicles, hauling freight for Amazon along the I-10 interstate highway.

"Since we set out on our mission two years ago to deliver the benefits of self-driving technology safely, quickly and broadly, we have received an incredible amount of support and interest in the future we are building", said Aurora's press release.

While companies like Google (Waymo), Apple, General Motors (Cruise) and others have invested in autonomous vehicle technologies, Amazon has been absent from the scene.

"We are always looking to invest in innovative, customer-obsessed companies, and Aurora is just that".

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