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m3n4.net February 17, 2019


Aurora Innovation: Amazon invests in self-driving car startup Aurora

12 February 2019, 12:55 | Vera Richards

Amazon enters self-driving car arena, invests in Aurora run by former Tesla execs

An Aurora self-driving Lincoln MKZ car is seen outside the company's office in the Lawrenceville neighborhood in Pittsburgh

The funding round was led by venture capital firm Sequoia, whose partner Carl Eschenbach will join Aurora's board.

"We are always looking to invest in innovative, customer-obsessed companies, and Aurora is just that". Startup Aurora is a developer of full-stack self-driving software systems for automakers.

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Aurora - a self-driving vehicle company, has secured a funding of more than US$ 530 million from Amazon and Sequoia among others. Chris Urmson, the chief executive, was an early leader of the driverless-car project launched within Google that has since become Waymo, now widely seen as the first robotaxi business to emerge. It competes with companies like Alphabet's Waymo and Argo AI (Ford) and Cruise (GM). Embark also received significant funding from Sequoia past year and has raised $47 million overall to date. They even have a team dedicated to building autonomous vehicle technology, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Aurora is among dozens of startups, automakers and large technology companies working on self-driving auto systems, eager to capitalize on a sea change in the transportation industry brought by developments in machine learning. In a blog piece published on Medium, Aurora explains: "Moreover, all Aurora-powered vehicles carry a common set of self-driving hardware and run the same self-driving software, allowing Aurora and its partners to benefit from the collective scale of all participants...learn [ing] from the combined experience of all vehicles on the platform".

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For Aurora's Urmson, who has been working on the technology for more than a decade, this isn't a race: "We're clear with our investors that this is a long road", he said, "and at the end of that road is incredible impact on improving safety and mobility".

A self driving Volvo XC90 outside 737 Harrisonn in San Francisco, Calif., the unmarked headquarters of Otto, an autonomous trucking company acquired by Uber in 2016.

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Many companies, however, have encountered technical challenges that have derailed their timelines to deliver self-driving cars and raised questions about the feasibility of deploying fleets of autonomous vehicles in crowded cities.



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