Amazon Throws Its Hat Into Autonomous Driving Ring With Aurora Investment

An Aurora self-driving Lincoln MKZ car is seen outside the company's office in the Lawrenceville neighborhood in Pittsburgh

Amazon enters self-driving car arena, invests in Aurora run by former Tesla execs

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

Additional investors included Lightspeed Venture Partners, Geodesic, Shell Ventures and Reinvent Capital.

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

The new funding brings Aurora's valuation to more than $2.5 billion, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

SAN FRANCISCO: A self-driving vehicle technology startup founded by former Google, Tesla and Uber executives said Thursday it secured $530 million in new funding that included a "significant" investment from Amazon.

Aurora Chief Executive Chris Urmson, who earlier led Alphabet's self-driving program, said the financing allows Aurora to expand and refine the testing and development of its autonomous driving system, and to hire, growing its staff of more than 200 people spread between offices in Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Palo Alto, California.

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

Sequoia Capital and T.Rowe Price were also major investors during the investment round, altogether signaling a vote of confidence in the self-driving competition now underway that Amazon apparently doesn't intend to miss out on. Investments previous year from the SoftBank Vision Fund and Honda Motor Co. pushed Cruise's valuation to US$14.6 billion. The new company does have some competition, including Waymo and self-driving companies that were acquired by Ford (Argo AI) and GM (Cruise).

An Amazon spokesperson issued the following statement to SYFY WIRE: "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". Amazon invests in self-driving technology Amazon is very interested in self-driving technology.

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