Amazon, Sequoia Capital Invest $530 Million In Self-Driving Startup 02/07/2019

Aurora Innovation's Lincoln test vehicle

Aurora is developing the technology for autonomous vehicles, but leaving the making of cars to other companies. The startup has remained fiercely independent, cultivating partnerships with Hyundai Motor Co., Volkswagen AG and Byton Ltd. while designing a suite of software, hardware and data services created to support a range of automakers and transportation networks.

This Series B round values Aurora at over $2.5 billion.

Aurora is led by Chris Urmson, former head of the Google self-driving auto initiative. Co-founder and Chief Product Officer Sterling Anderson led the design and launch of the Tesla Model X and Drew Bagnell, Aurora's Chief Technology Officer and co-founder, was one of the founders of Uber's Advanced Technology Centre. The company presently employs around 250 workers split between its Bay Area and Pittsburgh campuses. 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. Eschenbach will take a seat on the startup's board.

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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Aurora Innovation is notable primarily for its leadership. The new company does have some competition, including Waymo and self-driving companies that were acquired by Ford (Argo AI) and GM (Cruise).

"With this newest investment, we will accelerate the development of the Aurora Driver and strengthen our team and ecosystem", stated an Aurora blog post. Aurora raised $90 million in a funding round past year.

"Autonomous technology has the potential to help make the jobs of our employees and partners safer and more productive...whether it's in a fulfillment center or on the road, and we're excited about the possibilities", said a spokesperson from Amazon.