Amazon invests in autonomous vehicle startup Aurora

Self-driving ‘dream team’ at Aurora gets $530 million from Amazon and other investors

Even if you're a auto buff, you may not have heard of Aurora Innovation, but with news that the company has raised in excess of $530 million from some major Silicon Valley players, you're likely to read about them a lot more from now on.

The self-driving vehicle startup has just announced that it's scored significant Series B financing support from a block of investors led by Sequoia Capital, a big-name venture capital firm that counts Amazon and T. Rowe Price among its backers. You could integrate its technology into various vehicles, and companies like Hyundai and VW have already pledged to use Aurora software in their cars by 2021. Investments a year ago from the SoftBank Vision Fund and Honda Motor Co. pushed Cruise's valuation to $14.6 billion. It marks Sequoia's first investment in the self-driving vehicle industry, and comes after the firm spent years of studying more than 15 self-driving auto companies across the globe, Eschenbach said.

Aurora is also led by Sterling Anderson, who oversaw the development of Tesla's autopilot system, and Drew Bagnell, who helped lead Uber's self-driving unit.

Early past year, it announced its first strategic partnership with Volkswagen Group to bring self-driving cars to market.

Like many similar startups, Aurora is focused on developing a driverless system rather than producing full-fledged cars. Even Waymo's robotaxi service in Arizona still has trained backup drivers inside.

While companies like Google (Waymo), Apple, General Motors (Cruise) and others have invested in autonomous vehicle technologies, Amazon has been absent from the scene.

"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". The case eventually settled and Aurora paid Tesla $100,000.

Self-driving cars are not just for people- the technology can also move goods. Amazon now uses automation in its warehouses and is designing a future delivery system with drones to deliver packages, and is a technology company with a significant logistics arm.

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