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

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

Amazon enters self-driving car arena, invests in Aurora run by former Tesla execs

The self-driving startup led by ex-Tesla and ex-Google executives, Aurora Innovation, Inc. has landed $530 million dollars in funding after a successful second investment round, and one of its most notable contributors was Amazon.

The funding round was led by venture capital firm Sequoia, whose partner Carl Eschenbach will join Aurora's board. The round reportedly gives Aurora a valuation north of $2.5 billion, making it one of the most valuable independent players in the autonomous driving market.

Most recently, the company invested in Balyo, a French-based autonomous vehicle navigation company which is able to turn forklifts into self-driving vehicles- meaning the warehouses can operate with fewer manual workers. Aurora has now raised a total of $620 million that includes a $90 million round a year ago.

Sequoia led the Series B round of investment.

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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 vehicle project.

Urmson recognizes he's in for a long haul.

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

Aurora has kept a low profile and is in a more nascent research and development phase than some of its rivals.

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Last year, Aurora partnered with Volkswagen and Hyundai to develop a self-driving system for their vehicles.

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.

A self-driving vehicle tech start-up founded by former Google, Tesla and Uber executives said on Thursday it had secured US$530 million (S$719 million) in new funding that includes a "significant" investment from Amazon. It hosts an autonomous racing league for 1/18th-scale race cars and teamed up with Toyota on the e-Palette concept - an electric, self-driving vehicle built on a scaleable platform that would allow it to be adapted for a multitude of uses.

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