Amazon drops huge chunk of change on self-driving vehicle tech

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

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

The third co-founder is Drew Bagnell, formerly of Uber, while, as part of this funding round, Sequoia partner Carl Eschenbach will join Aurora's board.

"We are always looking to invest in innovative, customer-obsessed companies, and Aurora is just that".

Amazon has made its most significant move into driverless cars to date by investing in a company led by the former head of Google's autonomous vehicle unit.

The funding values start-up Aurora at more than $2.5bn (circa £1.9bn), according to the Financial Times. Aurora raised $90 million in a funding round previous year.

Aurora is led by Mr Chris Urmson, former head of the Google self-driving vehicle initiative.

Sequoia led the Series B round of investment.

The company, which has operations in Silicon Valley and Pittsburgh, plans to use the influx of cash to speed up development of its "Aurora Driver" technology and strengthen its team and network of partnerships.

Urmson recognizes he's in for a long haul. Aurora's platform Having no interest in building or operating fleets of self-driving vehicles, Aurora is partnering with automakers like Volkswagen, Hyundai Motor and Chinese-backed electric vehicle startup Byton to help develop their self-driving 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.

The big-league backing follows other ventures by Amazon into the segment. Chief Technology Officer Drew Bagnell was previously a lead engineer with Uber Technologies Inc.'s self-driving auto group, while Chief Product Officer Sterling Anderson worked at Tesla Inc.as the head of its Autopilot unit. 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.

Brad Pitt spotted at ex-wife Jennifer Aniston’s 50th birthday
UK and Switzerland strike a deal on post-Brexit trade