"Aurora is excited to partner with Hyundai Motor to make the social benefits of self-driving available globally", says Dr. Chris Urmson, CEO of Aurora. General Motors Co. acquired Cruise Automation in 2016 for $581 million and Ford Motor Co. forged a $1 billion partnership with Argo AI at the beginning of a year ago. The company is based in Pittsburgh, Pa., and Palo Alto, California. We already mentioned Anderson from Tesla, but Aurora was also co-founded by Drew Bagnell, who headed the autonomy and perception team at Uber's Advanced Technologies Center, and Chris Urmson, the former head of Google's self-driving project.
He talked about the partnerships, how to make money on autonomous vehicles and when we all might be riding in them in an interview with The Associated Press. The way the economics play out over time is still far from foregone, combining self-driving capability, a vehicle and a (ride-sharing) network. "We still don't know which of these pieces will be dominant, or if they will find a happy equilibrium".
Volkswagen, which began working with Aurora about six months ago, plans to begin rolling out several test vehicles this year followed by hundreds of vehicles next year and more than a thousand in 2020.
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The US startup is led by veterans in the autonomous vehicle sector. Based in Germany, the company now produces close to 10 million vehicles each year.
The partnerships will pair Aurora's sensors and software - its machine learning and artificial intelligence technology - with two companies that together produce more than 15 million vehicles each year. It is aiming for "Level 4 automation" which is when a auto can completely drive itself under a limited set of conditions, like at a slower speed or in a defined area. General Motors said in November that its self-driving vehicles will carry passengers and deliver goods in big cities by 2019.
Renault SA, Nissan Motor Co and Mitsubishi Motors Corp are also ready to climb aboard robo-taxis - just not without pooling up to share the cost of the ride.
The partnerships were revealed on Thursday, with both automakers announcing their intentions to build self-driving technology into their vehicles by 2021, The Verge noted.
Within the self-driving vehicle space, Waymo - formerly Google's autonomous program headed by Urmson - is offering something similar.