Amazon invests in self-driving vehicle startup Aurora


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.

The new round of funding will allow Aurora to continue to scale its operations. 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. Last year Aurora secured the first state permit to test its vehicles throughout Pennsylvania, beating out Uber. GM CEO Mary Barra said the carmaker will spend about $1 billion on Cruise in 2019 during Wednesday's earnings call. Investments previous year from the SoftBank Vision Fund and Honda Motor Co. pushed Cruise's valuation to $14.6 billion. Amazon, a logistics and delivery behemoth, has shown interest in autonomous driving, recently launching a program to help developers test their own self-driving technology.

Aurora Innovation appears to have attracted much of that funding on the strength of its self-driving tech superstar co-founders, who include CEO Chris Urmson, formerly of Google's self-driving vehicle program (pre-Waymo); CTO Drew Bagnell, formerly of Uber's Advanced Technologies Group; and CPO Sterling Anderson, who helped lead the development of Tesla's Autopilot.

T. Rowe Price, another new investor in Aurora, is Tesla's second-largest shareholder after Chief Executive Elon Musk, according to Bloomberg data.

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Like many similar startups, Aurora is focused on developing a driverless system rather than producing full-fledged cars.

"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".

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

A number of companies are investing in autonomous driving technology including Apple and Alphabet.