Amazon Invests in Self-Driving Car Startup Aurora Innovation

Amazon Invests in Self-Driving Car Startup Aurora Innovation

Amazon Invests in Self-Driving Car Startup Aurora Innovation

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. Shell Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Geodesic also joined. This second round of funding for Aurora values the company at more than US$2.5 billion. CEO Chris Urmson was with Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) self-driving auto program (pre-Waymo); CTO Drew Bagnell, worked for Uber's Advanced Technologies Group; and CPO Sterling Anderson helped lead Tesla's Autopilot development.

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. The latter is seen not only as a linchpin when it comes to safety, but also to the monetization potential of future self-driving vehicles, be they conventional passenger cars, commercial vehicles or last-mile delivery robots.

Aurora is building self-driving technology, and the new funds are aimed at accelerating delivery of that technology, according to the announcement by Aurora.

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"This funding and partnership will accelerate our mission of delivering the benefits of self-driving technology safely, quickly, and broadly", Aurora announced in its blog, adding that "Amazon's unique expertise, capabilities, and perspectives will be valuable for us as we drive towards our mission". It competes with companies like Alphabet's Waymo and Argo AI (Ford) and Cruise (GM). It aims to be the "nerve center" of autonomous vehicles, creating what the company calls the Aurora Driver platform. Embark also received significant funding from Sequoia previous year and has raised $47 million overall to date.

"Autonomous technology has the potential to help make the jobs of our employees and partners safer and more productive, whether it's in a fulfilment centre or on the road, and we are excited about the possibilities".

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