What started with books has reached the budding self-driving car sector. Amazon has invested in self-driving car company Aurora Innovation, the self-driving technology firm announced last Thursday.
The actual figure it had received from Amazon wasn't disclosed in Aurora's announcement, but in total, the company raised $530 million in the latest round of investment. Other investors included the venture capital firm Sequoia and the investment branch of Shell. Amazon told CNBC in a Thursday report its investment comes as it continues to seek out "innovative, customer-obsessed companies." The online shopping and tech giant said autonomous cars have the ability to transform jobs and make employees safer and more productive.
Amazon is likely keen to invest in the technology due to its massive delivery costs. In 2018, the company spent $27 billion, according to the report delivering packages. Self-driving delivery vehicles would slice the costs by a wide margin, mostly by eliminating countless jobs for drivers. Aurora has become one of the larger startup firms for self-driving car technology outside of automaker themselves, and companies other automakers have outright purchased.
General Motors purchased Cruise Automation and Ford has acquired Argo AI, for example.
Aurora, meanwhile, doesn't plan to focus on the "hardware" aspect. Instead, it's forged numerous partnerships with other automakers. Chief among them are VW, Hyundai, and China's Byton. Each of the companies it has partnered with aim to deliver self-driving cars early next decade. VW reportedly tried to purchase Aurora outright as it fell behind the self-driving car segment.
Aurora's co-founders know a thing or two about the sector, too. Aurora CEO Chris Urmson is Waymo's former Chief Technical Officer. Chief Product Officer for the company, Sterling Anderson, led design and launch for the Tesla Model X.