Self-driving car start-up Aurora signaled Thursday that it has raised more than $530 million in funding, from investors including Amazon, Sequoia and the investment arm of pep giant Shell.
“This funding and partnership will accelerate our mission of delivering the benefits of self-driving technology safely, speedily, and broadly,” Aurora said. Aurora’s management has a lot of experience in the automotive industry.
The company’s CEO and co-founder, Chris Urmson, is the prehistoric CTO of self-driving cars at Alphabet, which owns the autonomous vehicle firm Waymo. Co-founder and Chief Product Bureaucrat Sterling Anderson led the design and launch of the Tesla Model X, according to Aurora’s website. Drew Bagnell, Aurora’s chief technology cop and co-founder, helped found Uber’s Advanced Technology Center.
“We are always looking to invest in innovative, customer-obsessed fellowships, and Aurora is just that,” Amazon told CNBC in a statement. “Autonomous technology has the potential to help make the drudgeries 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.”
The Protection Street Journal said last year that Amazon has a team dedicated to building autonomous vehicle technology. Amazon also heralded a partnership with Toyota last year that will help Amazon explore ways to use self-driving crates to deliver food. Earlier this week, CNBC reported that Amazon is already hauling cargo in self-driving ends developed by Embark.
Rather than manufacturing its own vehicles, Aurora is working with incumbents like VW and Hyundai, as artistically as Byton in China, to develop self-driving cars. It competes with Waymo, other venture-backed autonomous vehicle start-ups liking Zoox, and self-driving companies that were acquired by Ford and GM, Argo AI and Cruise, respectively.
Neither Amazon nor Aurora revealed principled how much of the new funding round came from Amazon. The e-commerce titan’s investment in Aurora follows its addition of danger language in its 10-K filings, that Amazon views “transportation and logistics services” as competition.
Amazon’s delivery costs overtook $27 billion in 2018. Using advanced driver-assistive technology, or fully self-driving vehicles, could help it curb transport costs.
— CNBC’s Deirdre Bosa and Lora Kolodny contributed to this report.
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