Aurora Innovation: Amazon invests in self-driving car startup Aurora

Aurora Innovation: Amazon invests in self-driving car startup Aurora

"Fully autonomous driving is inevitable; just as machines replaced manual labor during the industrial revolution, they will replace cognitive labor during the information revolution", said Carl Eschenbach, general partner of Sequoia capital operations.

Aurora is developing the technology for autonomous vehicles, but leaving the making of cars to other companies and said in a blog post it wants to work alongside, rather than compete with, leading automakers.

The new funding brings Aurora's valuation to more than $2.5 billion, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. Embark also received significant funding from Sequoia a year ago and has raised $47 million overall to date. It marks Sequoia's first investment in the self-driving auto industry, and comes after the firm spent years of studying more than 15 self-driving vehicle companies across the globe, Eschenbach said. Overall, it intends to be the "nerve center" of autonomous vehicles, and that vision has been funneled into what the company calls the Aurora Driver platform.

Aurora is led by Chief Executive Officer Chris Urmson, a former assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University who led development on Alphabet Inc.'s self-driving auto project. The company also set up a partnership with Toyota to find ways to use self-driving cars for deliveries.

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"We have been very clear this is not a quick thing", he said.

Aurora said it now earns revenue through these partnerships, although it hasn't determined precisely how its business model will evolve once the technology is commercially ready.

T. Rowe Price also invested along with Amazon.com Inc and several venture capital firms. Chief Technology Officer Drew Bagnell was previously a lead engineer with Uber Technologies Inc.'s self-driving auto group, while Chief Product Officer Sterling Anderson worked at Tesla Inc.as the head of its Autopilot unit.

Last year, the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon is building autonomous vehicle technology.

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