Aurora, a self-driving start-up, will be open to the public through a SPAC agreement.

Aurora, a start-up company developing hardware and software that enables vehicles to drive autonomously, will be unveiled through the merger of SPACs.

The deal with the special purpose acquisition company Reinvent Technology Partners is expected to close later this year and will set up a merger with $ 2.5 billion in cash.

“This is a natural next step for us,” said Chris Urmson, co-founder and CEO of Aurora. “This frees up the capital needed to provide the Aurora driver as a large-scale service.” Upon completion, Aurora will be traded on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol AUR at a valuation of $ 11 billion.

Together with partners from Toyota to Uber, truck makers Volvo and PACCAR, Aurora targets a wide range of vehicle, delivery services and mobility companies for its technology. Goal: Enable the vehicle to achieve Level 4 autonomous driving. This means that no human intervention is required when the vehicle is on the road.

Aurora plans to integrate its technology into Volvo and PACCAR Class 8 trucks by late 2023. These trucks operate autonomously on roads and highways, generating Aurora’s mileage revenue.

Aurora CEO Chris Armson


The business model is very attractive, but fulfilling that promise and actually solving the complexity of Level 4 autonomous driving is a big challenge. Commercialization of self-driving cars was much more difficult than many expected just a few years ago.

Some companies, such as Uber Technologies, have given up on developing their systems in-house. Uber sold its self-driving car business to Aurora, while other companies such as Zoox sold it to Amazon. Alphabet’s Waymo remains the hottest front runner and operates self-driving cars in Arizona.

Urmson has been working on this technology for almost 15 years, including a long mission to lead Google’s self-driving car project.

“We understand how difficult it is to solve this problem,” he said. “We have laid the foundation for this technology for the past four years. Now is the time to migrate and deliver.”

Will investors accept Aurora when it becomes a public company? SPAC transactions with some electric vehicle companies such as Nikola, Lordstown Motors and Canoo have led to highly volatile stocks and investigations by the SEC, investigating companies that could mislead investors.

Mark Pincus, co-founder and director of Reinvent Technology Partners, said he invested in Aurora because he was a “clear leader” in the industry.

“It’s easy for us to get into the mix,” he said. “This represents everything we are looking for in the self-driving car market.”

Aurora estimates that the global trucking, last mile delivery and ride-hailing services market is worth $ 9.4 trillion in total. In short, they represent a great opportunity. This explains why automakers such as GM, Tesla and Volkswagen are investing billions of dollars in developing self-driving cars. So are tech giants like Alphabet, Waymo’s parent, formerly known as the Google Self-Driving Car Project when Chris Urmson ran between 2013 and 2016.

At the time, Armson said his goal was to create a self-driving car so that his son wouldn’t have to get a driver’s license. Later this year, Armson’s son will be 18 years old. He is now with learner permission and his father has taken a new step towards the goal of installing self-driving cars on the road.

Michael Wayland of CNBC contributed to this article.

Aurora, a self-driving start-up, will be open to the public through a SPAC agreement.

Source link Aurora, a self-driving start-up, will be open to the public through a SPAC agreement.

Back to top button