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Silicon Valley Self-Driving Start-Up 'Aurora' Gears Up for Business, Posts New Website.

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【Summary】Silicon Valley California based autonomous start-up Aurora, whose mission is “safe efficient mobility” has a new website and many jobs posted, a sign that they are beginning operations.

Original Eric Walz    May 03, 2017 4:11 PM PT
Silicon Valley Self-Driving Start-Up 'Aurora' Gears Up for Business, Posts New Website.

By Eric Walz

Palo Alto, California autonomous start-up Aurora, whose mission is "safe efficient mobility" has a new website and many jobs posted, a sign that they are beginning operations. Although the company's new website contains few details, Aurora posted many engineering job openings related to autonomous technology, such as mapping, perception, simulation, and controls.

The Silicon Valley company was founded two self-driving industry veterans, ex-Tesla engineer Sterling Anderson and Chris Urmson. Mr. Anderson was the director of Tesla's Autopilot system. He was also the chief program manager of the Tesla Model X SUV. Chris Urmson was the CTO and technical lead of Google X, where he worked on Google's self-driving car development for over seven years before abruptly resigning in August of 2016. 

Tesla Lawsuit

In January, Tesla filed a scathing lawsuit against Aurora co-founder Sterling Anderson. Tesla had accused Anderson of taking confidential Tesla information then destroying the evidence to cover his tracks, as well as attempting to poach a number of Tesla employees for his new venture, which now appears to be Aurora Innovation.

Tesla suddenly dropped its lawsuit on April 19, 2017 withdrawing its claims, without seeking damages or attorney's fees, and without any finding any evidence wrongdoing. Despite this action, Aurora agreed to pay Tesla the relatively modest sum of $100k, which is believed to be the costs associated with a future Tesla audit needed to demonstrate the integrity of Aurora's intellectual property.

Aurora's Big Plans

According to Recode report, the company does not plan to build self-driving cars. Instead, it will focus on developing self-driving software, as well as data and hardware. Aurora would create a "fully bundled self-driving kit" which can be sold to car makers to integrate it, or customize it for use in their vehicles during assembly.

The company says they are developing robust, high performance, and highly reliable software, as well as mapping algorithms, data-structures, and tools that enable autonomous operation, according to their job postings.

The company plans research and development in Silicon Valley, in Palo Alto, CA as well as in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where the company has easy access to the robotics and engineering talent at nearby Carnegie Mellon University. Aurora will join another company already there. Self-driving competitor Uber is currently test self-driving vehicles in Pittsburgh, and has an office there dedicated to their own self-driving efforts.

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