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Amazon backs mammoth $530M round for autonomous driving startup Aurora

Amazon backs mammoth $530M round for autonomous driving startup Aurora

Aurora is developing the technology for autonomous vehicles, but leaving the making of cars to other companies and said in a blog post it wants to work alongside, rather than compete with, leading automakers.

The Series B financing raises Aurora's valuation to almost $2.5 billion according to TechCrunch. Sterling Anderson, Aurora's chief product officer, previously led Tesla Inc.'s Autopilot team, which developed driver-assistance technology for the electric-car maker. CEO Chris Urmson was with Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) self-driving vehicle program (pre-Waymo); CTO Drew Bagnell, worked for Uber's Advanced Technologies Group; and CPO Sterling Anderson helped lead Tesla's Autopilot development.

The stature of its founders has allowed Aurora to attract top talent, with more than 250 people split between the San Francisco Bay Area and Pittsburgh, as well as interest from investors and partners. Eschenbach will take a seat on the startup's board.

A number of companies are investing in autonomous driving technology including Apple and Alphabet. Aurora has now raised a total of $620 million that includes a $90 million round a year ago.




Aurora is among dozens of startups, automakers and large technology companies working on self-driving vehicle systems, eager to capitalize on a sea change in the transportation industry brought by developments in machine learning.

"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're excited about the possibilities".

Aurora previous year received authorization to test autonomous vehicles in the state from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. 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. Amazon invests in self-driving technology Amazon is very interested in self-driving technology.