Startup Aurora gets $530 million boost to build self-driving cars

Aurora Innovation Inc., an autonomous driving startup that exited stealth just over a year ago, today revealed that it has secured a mammoth $530 million funding round from a who's who of technology investors. This second round of funding for Aurora values the company at more than US$2.5 billion. Anderson had led Tesla's team that created the Autopilot system, while Urmson served as the Chief Technology Officer at Waymo (formerly Google's self-driving project).

SAN FRANCISCO: A self-driving vehicle technology startup founded by former Google, Tesla and Uber executives said Thursday it secured $530 million in new funding that included a "significant" investment from Amazon.

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The founders' impressive credentials have helped Aurora not just with fundraising but also on the business front. So, even if Amazon is agnostic about the vehicles it hopes to implement in the future, partnering with a company like Aurora for its transportation network development would probably work well with its current direction due to Aurora's multi-platform software.

Most recently, the company invested in Balyo, a French-based autonomous vehicle navigation company which is able to turn forklifts into self-driving vehicles- meaning the warehouses can operate with fewer manual workers. On the recent earnings call of Waymo's parent, Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat said the company is in talks to move into several other cities beyond the Phoenix area, where its first robotaxi service debuted in late 2018. "Autonomous technology has the potential to help make the jobs of our employees and partners safer and more productive", an Amazon spokesperson said, "whether it's in a fulfillment center or on the road, and we're excited about the possibilities". After dipping its toe in the robotic vehicle arena with Scout, an autonomous delivery robot, and collaboration with Embark, a self-driving truck startup, Amazon definitely seems interested in where the field is headed.

  • Darren Santiago