Tesla's self-driving auto rival gets big money from Amazon

Amazon Invests in Self Driving Car Startup Aurora Founded by Former Google Tesla Uber Executives

It has partnerships with Byton, Hyundai Motor Co and Volkswagen to develop and test self-driving systems that one day, Urmson said, can be used by a broad range of automakers, fleet owners and other transportation industry players.

"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. CEO Chris Urmson was with Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) self-driving vehicle program (pre-Waymo); CTO Drew Bagnell, worked for Uber's Advanced Technologies Group; and CPO Sterling Anderson helped lead Tesla's Autopilot development. Last year Aurora secured the first state permit to test its vehicles throughout Pennsylvania, beating out Uber.

Aurora Innovation is developing a full self-driving program from soup to nuts, including hardware, software and data-collection and -distribution tech. GM CEO Mary Barra said the carmaker will spend about $1 billion on Cruise in 2019 during Wednesday's earnings call. Embark also received significant funding from Sequoia past year and has raised $47 million overall to date.

Aurora doesn't build self-driving cars. Even Waymo's robotaxi service in Arizona still has trained backup drivers inside.

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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.

"Autonomous technology has the potential to help make the jobs of our employees and partners safer and more productive", an Amazon spokesperson said to Bloomberg, "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. The latter is seen not only as a linchpin when it comes to safety, but also to the monetization potential of future self-driving vehicles, be they conventional passenger cars, commercial vehicles or last-mile delivery robots.

Back in 2017, the reported that Amazon had a team looking into ways to move all those Amazon products and packages in driverless cars.

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