Aurora Innovation Plans to Bring Driverless Cars to California

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【Summary】Startup Aurora Innovation, which is the brainchild from Tesla, Uber, and Google, has received a permit to test its cars in California and plans to hold testing on public roads in the near future.

Original   Vineeth Joel Patel  ·  Aug 11, 2017 8:00 AM PT
author: Vineeth Joel Patel   

For startups attempting to break into the autonomous scene, getting vehicles onto the road can be a daunting task. Major automakers and tech companies have the funds to go after the best engineers, designers, and tech, while smaller startups struggle to compete with others. While Aurora Innovation is a startup, the company got off to a great start with veterans taking the helm. 

Two self-driving industry veterans, ex-Tesla engineer Chris Urmson and Sterling Anderson founded the startup with the intention of creating driverless software and hardware, instead of developing full-blown vehicles. The company, as we reported earlier, would make a "fully bundled self-driving kit" that it would sell to automakers and companies.  

Look Out California, Here Comes Aurora Innovation

Now, the Aurora Innovation has taken another large step towards getting its tech onto the road. According to Fortune, the startup received a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to begin testing its autonomous vehicles on public roads in the state. 

As the report claims, the company is the 37th one to obtain a driverless-vehicle-testing permit in the state, as it joins a host of others that are testing cars in California. The situation in California has gotten to the point where companies and automakers are looking to alter the state's driverless regulations to accommodate for more vehicles. 

With the new permit, Aurora plans to begin testing in the state in the near future. The startup confirmed to Fortune that it had been testing self-driving vehicles in the state on private courses and is now looking to increase its operations, specifically its test fleet, on public roads in the state. As the outlet claims, the company will begin its testing in Palo Alto, Calif. The decision makes sense, as the company has an office in the city. 

Aurora didn't state when it would begin testing its autonomous vehicles on public roads, states Fortune, or how many cars are in its arsenal. But, as the outlet claims, the startup did state that it was developing a 2017 Audi Q7 with autonomous technology back in April that, as it describes, was a "pre pre alpha data-gathering platform." 

After getting off to a rocky start, it's good to see Aurora Innovations heading in the right direction. The company, which was founded by Anderson, a former director of Tesla's semi-autonomous Autopilot program, Urmson, who was formally at the head of Google's driverless project, and Drew Bagnell, the head of Uber's Advanced Technologies Center. Clearly, Aurora Innovation doesn't have a shortage of great minds to help guide the company to new heights. 

Leaving Hardships Behind

Earlier this year in February, Tesla filed a lawsuit against Aurora Innovation, claiming the startup stole company secrets. As we reported earlier, the lawsuit claimed that Aurora stole its data and attempted to recruit its engineers, which Tesla stated was an act of malice that damaged the company. 

In the end, Tesla settled its lawsuit against Aurora by accepting a one-time payment of $100,000. The sum was given to the automaker to cover its cost of a forensic audit. While things may not have gone so well for Aurora in the past, things are looking up and, if the testing goes well, the startup will become one of the major players in the segment. 

via: Fortune

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