Amazon places interest in autonomous vehicles with investment

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Sequoia Capital and T.Rowe Price were also major investors during the investment round, altogether signaling a vote of confidence in the self-driving competition now underway that Amazon apparently doesn't intend to miss out on.

Self-driving auto startup Aurora has raised more than $530 million in fresh funding, bucking recent skepticism by investors and industry players that autonomous vehicle technology has been overhyped. Embark also received significant funding from Sequoia a year ago and has raised $47 million overall to date.

Sequoia led the Series B round of investment.

Aurora also noted its latest round of funding will help them accelerate the development of their autonomous driving technology and strengthen their team as well as their ecosystem. Chris Urmson, the chief executive officer, was an early leader of the driverless auto project launched within Google that later became Waymo, now widely seen as the first robotaxi business to emerge. The company also set up a partnership with Toyota to find ways to use self-driving cars for deliveries.

Urmson recognizes he's in for a long haul.

Aurora does not manufacture its own vehicles but works with auto manufacturers to develop self-driving technology.

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. It was joined by Amazon.com Inc., Wall Street heavyweight T. Rowe Price Group Inc. and a half-dozen other institutional backers.

SAN FRANCISCO: A self-driving auto technology startup founded by former Google, Tesla and Uber executives said Thursday it secured $530 million in new funding that included a "significant" investment from Amazon. "Over the last couple of years, we've met with more than 15 of the top autonomous vehicle companies from around the world", said Sequoia's Carl Eschenbach in an interview.

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