Amazon just invested in self-driving car company Aurora

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Self-driving car startup Aurora announced on Thursday that it has raised more than $530 million in funding, from investors including Amazon, Sequoia and the investment arm of energy giant Shell.

This funding and partnership will accelerate our mission of delivering the benefits of self-driving technology safely, quickly, and broadly,” Aurora said. Aurora’s management has a lot of experience in the automotive industry.

The company’s CEO and co-founder Chris Urmson is the former CTO of self-driving cars at Alphabet, which owns the autonomous vehicle firm Waymo. Co-founder and chief product officer Sterling Anderson led the design and launch of the Tesla Model X, according to Aurora’s website. Drew Bagnell, Aurora’s chief technology officer and co-founder helped found Uber’s Advanced Technology Center.

“We are always looking to invest in innovative, customer-obsessed companies, and Aurora is just that,” Amazon told CNBC in a statement. “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.”

The Wall Street Journal said last year that Amazon has a team dedicated to building autonomous vehicle technology. Amazon also announced a partnership with Toyota last year that will help Amazon explore ways to use self-driving cars to deliver food. Earlier this week, CNBC reported that Amazon is already hauling cargo in self-driving trucks developed by Embark.

Rather than manufacturing its own vehicles, Aurora is working with incumbents like VW and Hyundai, as well as Byton in China, to develop self-driving cars. It competes with Waymo, other venture backed autonomous vehicle start-ups like Zoox, and self-driving companies that were acquired by Ford and GM, Argo.AI and Cruise, respectively.

Neither Amazon nor Aurora revealed just how much of the new funding round came from Amazon. The e-commerce titan’s investment in Aurora follows its addition of risk language in its 10K filings, that Amazon views “transportation and logistics services” as competition.

Amazon’s delivery costs exceeded $27 billion in 2018. Using advanced driver-assistive technology, or fully self-driving vehicles, could help it curb delivery costs.

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