Source: Silicon Star (ID: guixingren 123)
After the B round of financing, Aurora's valuation will reach $2.5 billion.
The fiercely competitive drone battlefield has recently ushered in a heavyweight unicorn.
On February 7, Aurora, the American autopilot company, received $530 million in B-round financing, Bloomberg reported. This round of financing is led by Sequoia Capital, a Silicon Valley venture capital company, with the participation of Amazon, T. Rowe Price Group Inc., Shell Oil, etc. After this round of financing, Aurora will be valued at $2.5 billion, making it one of the Silicon Valley Unicorns.
The huge investment of $530 million also broke Zoox's record of $500 million in financing, making Aurora the largest independent self-driving company with single financing.
Dream Team of the Big Three
After only two years of existence, Aurora has a dream team compared with other self-driving start-ups: the names of the three pioneers can be found at every stage in the history of unmanned vehicles.
In fact, the three founders of Aurora began to study autopilot long before Google's Waymo unmanned vehicle project was launched, Tesla's Autopilots were delivered, and Uber began to deploy the unmanned vehicle program.
Under Ermson's leadership, Google has independently designed a prototype car to prepare for the cancellation of drivers from scratch. The car hides the steering wheel and pedals, and in order to make the sensors work best, Ermson has also changed the structure of the car.
In his six years in office, Google has accumulated more than 1.8 million miles of self-driving, with only 15 minor car crashes in the process.
Today, the project that Ermson once built at Google has a more widely known name, Waymo.
Although Mr. Umson's achievements at Google are impressive enough, his relationship with the unmanned car has to start earlier.
Before joining Google, Ermson worked at the Institute of Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University on research related to robotic driving. In 2007, as a research professor, Mr. Umson won a grand prix that played an important role in the history of the development of unmanned vehicles. It was this grand prix that made everyone in the industry know him.
The race car that Umson won the championship is very similar to today's driverless car.
In order to enable the vehicle to comply with all traffic rules, while smoothly completing complex actions such as inbound and outbound, Ermson and his team wrote more than 500,000 lines of code for the car. In the early days of driverless driving, the car has been able to detect and track other vehicles through more than a dozen laser probes, cameras and radar, completing complex actions such as fixed-point parking, car-following, and crossing concessions.
It can be said that in the competition twelve years ago, he had completed the prototype of today's autopilot system.
And when it comes to the reasons for my involvement in driverless business, Umson says:It's to keep 11-year-old son from waiting for another four and a half years to get his driver's license.
While working as a researcher at MIT, Anderson developed an unmanned vehicle safety monitoring framework that could reduce the number of accidents caused by human errors by 78%.
Before joining Aurora, Bergnell was the head of the Autopilot and Perception Team at Uber Advanced Technology Center. He had 18 years of research experience in deep learning and machine vision.
Now, with Amazon, one of the world's largest logistics businesses, Aurora will be pushed to a more important position in the drone battlefield (although Amazon and Aurora have yet to disclose specific terms of investment).
Return to heart
What kind of company is Aurora?
Although Aurora has won the starting line in terms of its lineup, the success of a company depends on its business model.
According to Fortune magazine, Aurora will design and develop sensors, fusion technologies, software and data services needed to deploy autonomous vehicles in the future.
Aurora is not interested in car building and does not want to be a manufacturer of lidars and sensors.
Wired magazine commented on Aurora that they wanted to sell automotive technology to automakers, just as other people sell airbags.
In January 2018, Aurora has partnered with Volkswagen and Hyundai, two of the world's largest automakers, to accelerate the development of autonomous vehicles.
Volkswagen hopes to launch a fleet of self-driving commercial vehicles in two to five cities starting in 2021. At present, the public has begun working with Aurora to design customized electric ferry cars that can integrate the automatic driving system.
Another minibus, Moia, which can automatically pick up passengers, has entered the testing phase in 2018.
Today, both traditional car companies, technology giants and driverless start-ups have joined the battlefield of automatic driving. For Aurora, for example, they are facing a melee into a white-hot period.