Aurora self-driving startup partners with VW, Hyundai

Aurora self-driving startup partners with VW, Hyundai

Aurora was founded by Anderson, the former head of Tesla's Autopilot program; Chris Urmson, who helped start Google's self-driving vehicle program, and Drew Bagnell, who led autonomy and perception at Uber's Advanced Technology Group in Pittsburgh.

You've probably never heard of Aurora but you'll definitely know the key people behind it if you've been following the progress of self-driving auto development: Aurora was founded in 2016 by Chris Urmson, Drew Bagnell and Sterling Anderson.

Hyundai Motor Company and Aurora, a provider of autonomous vehicle technology, are teaming up to bring self-driving Hyundai vehicles to market by 2021.

The two companies have been working discreetly together for the last six months, integrating Aurora's leading technologies into Volkswagen's vehicle platforms.

The three automakers want to work with technology companies that are already experimenting with self-driving cars, he said, citing Google and Uber as examples.

Over the longer term, Hyundai and Aurora will work to commercialise self-driving vehicles worldwide. These autonomous vehicles can operate without human input or oversight under select conditions.

Anderson was not anxious about competing self-driving companies, saying Aurora is "very happy with where we are".

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Volkswagen and Hyundai's partnership with the startup arrives after General Motors announced in November that it expects to introduce self-driving vehicles to big cities by 2019.

Mr. Anderson, a roboticist from MIT, had helped put Tesla Inc.'s semiautonomous driving system, called Autopilot, on the road while Mr. Bagnell, an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon, helped found Uber's autonomous vehicle group in Pittsburgh.

The Volkswagen deal also offers Aurora an income stream, Handelsblatt reported, first from licensing fees paid by VW and later with a share of the revenue from the hoped-for fleets of autonomous taxis - slated for testing in Silicon Valley and the northern German city of Hamburg in the coming years. We know how to bring the right technology to bear, how to build the right self-driving system.

VW Group is betting Aurora, which provides the package of software, hardware, and data services that make up the self-driving system, will get it there faster.

Started by ex-Waymo employee Chris Urmson and ex-Tesla's Autopilot software engineer Sterling Anderson, the company had a promising lineage from the get-go.

For Urmson and Bagnell, bringing Aurora to Pittsburgh was a homecoming of sorts.

Hyundai's latest "new-generation fuel-cell vehicle", which will make its official debut at CES 2018 next week, will become the first model to be utilised in the test processes starting this year, Hyundai said on Thursday.

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