Amazon drops huge chunk of change on self-driving vehicle tech

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

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

Aurora is led by Chris Urmson, former head of the Google self-driving vehicle initiative. Sterling Anderson, Aurora's chief product officer, previously led Tesla Inc.'s Autopilot team, which developed driver-assistance technology for the electric-car maker. Bagnell was a founder member of Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Centre and Uber's Advanced Technology Centre. So, even if Amazon is agnostic about the vehicles it hopes to implement in the future, partnering with a company like Aurora for its transportation network development would probably work well with its current direction due to Aurora's multi-platform software.

Amazon did not reveal how much it had invested but said it could use driverless auto systems in package delivery or in its warehouses. Aurora's leadership has a lot of experience in the automotive industry, too. After dipping its toe in the robotic vehicle arena with Scout, an autonomous delivery robot, and collaboration with Embark, a self-driving truck startup, Amazon definitely seems interested in where the field is headed. GM CEO Mary Barra said the carmaker will spend about US$1 billion on Cruise in 2019 during Wednesday's earnings call. Aurora has now raised a total of $620 million that includes a $90 million round a year ago. Amazon has been surprisingly absent from the discussion, but that's changing as the online retailer has invested in Aurora. For example, yesterday's funding round included Amazon, which could someday use autonomous vehicle technology "in a fulfillment center or on the road", it said in a statement. 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.




Self-driving cars are not just for people- the technology can also move goods.

This year will mark a public test for some of the early leaders in driverless technology.

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