Amazon invests in autonomous auto startup Aurora

Amazon invests in autonomous auto startup Aurora

Amazon has invested more than $530 million in the autonomous driving start-up Aurora.

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

The new funding brings Aurora's valuation to more than $2.5 billion, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. Founded in 2016, the company is led by former Google Self-Driving Car Project chief Chris Urmson, Chris Urmson, one of the creators of Google's self-driving car project, Waymo, former Tesla autopilot chief, Sterling Anderson, and Drew Bagnell, a co-founder of Uber's self-driving car unit.

The founders' impressive credentials have helped Aurora not just with fundraising but also on the business front.

"Since we set out on our mission two years ago to deliver the benefits of self-driving technology safely, quickly and broadly, we have received an incredible amount of support and interest in the future we are building", said Aurora's press release.

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Having built alliances with Hyundai, Volkswagen, and Chinese carmaker Byton while remaining largely independent, Sequoia said the autonomous auto developer has "the best shot of being the most disruptive force going forward".

Aurora Innovation is notable primarily for its leadership. 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. Embark also received significant funding from Sequoia past year and has raised $47 million overall to date.

"With this newest investment, we will accelerate the development of the Aurora Driver and strengthen our team and ecosystem", stated an Aurora blog post.

"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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