Self-driving dream team gets $530 million from Sequoia, Amazon

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

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.

Thus far, Aurora has revealed that it is working with big-league automakers Hyundai and Volkswagen, as well as Chinese newcomer Byton, which has made a splash with its futuristic-looking cockpits and emphasis on bringing autonomous hardware to market quickly. 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.

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. Aurora raised $90 million in a funding round previous year. Eschenbach will take a seat on the startup's board.

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

"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", a spokesman said. 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.

Amazon did not reveal how much it had invested but said it could use driverless auto systems in package delivery or in its warehouses. "The team at Aurora has unparalleled experience and expertise in solving the challenge of autonomous driving", said Paul Greene, a portfolio manager for the Baltimore-based investment firm's communications and technology fund. In addition to Waymo's attempt push into new cities, GM's Cruise is fine-tuning safety issues before a planned launch of a driverless ride-hailing service before the year ends.

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