Aurora Innovation self-driving startup scores big Amazon investment

Aurora Innovation Lincoln test cars

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) joined with capital venture firm Sequoia and T. Rowe Price Group Inc (NASDAQ: TROW) to invest $530 million in self-driving vehicle startup Aurora Innovation according to Aurora's press release on Medium. The round reportedly gives Aurora a valuation north of $2.5 billion, making it one of the most valuable independent players in the autonomous driving market. 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.

A self-driving vehicle tech start-up founded by former Google, Tesla and Uber executives said on Thursday it had secured US$530 million (S$719 million) in new funding that includes a "significant" investment from Amazon.

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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 also be joining Aurora's board.

"This is really about accelerating and delivering on our mission, which is to deliver self-driving technology safely, quickly and broadly", Urmson said in an interview. Embark also received significant funding from Sequoia previous year and has raised $47 million overall to date. The new company does have some competition, including Waymo and self-driving companies that were acquired by Ford (Argo AI) and GM (Cruise).

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Aurora also noted its latest round of funding will help them accelerate the development of their autonomous driving technology and strengthen their team as well as their ecosystem.

"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", a spokesman said. Amazon invests in self-driving technology Amazon is very interested in self-driving technology.

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