The latest sign that investors are racing into the self-driving car

Aurora, a year-old start-up led by the former head of Google’s self-driving car unit [Chris Urmson], has raised $90 million in funding, in the latest sign that investors are racing into the self-driving car market… Index Ventures and Greylock, the venture capital firms, jointly led the investment in Aurora. Although terms of the equity investment were not disclosed, the deal is likely to value Aurora in the hundreds of millions of dollars. At the same time as Aurora’s funding was announced, Chris Urmson’s former employer, now called Waymo, sought to consolidate its early lead in autonomous technology by revealing that its vehicles had driven more than 5 million miles on public roads… Mr Urmson left the Alphabet-owned company in 2016 to start Aurora with Sterling Anderson, Tesla’s former autopilot chief, and robotics professor Drew Bagnell, a co-founder of Uber’s self-driving car unit… Unlike some Silicon Valley start-ups such as Zoox, which are planning to develop their own self-driving vehicle, Aurora wants to partner with traditional carmakers. It has already struck partnerships with Volkswagen and Hyundai, as well as Chinese electric vehicle start-up Byton. The new funds will help it to accelerate development of its technology for these customers and expand its team… Aurora is hoping to win customers among both manufacturers and fleet operators such as Uber or Lyft, which plan to run “robo-taxi” services.
Tim Bradshaw