Online shopping and technology giant Amazon last week confirmed that it has invested in a self-driving car technology startup called Aurora Innovation.
Aurora listed Amazon as one of several investors in its latest round of fundraising. Aurora’s financial documents show it secured $530 million, but it’s unclear how much of that came from Amazon. The Aurora investment is believed to be Amazon’s first in a firm directly involved in autonomous cars.
Amazon provided a statement to CNBC last week and said it’s looking for “innovative, customer-obsessed companies” that can help its own business.
Amazon spent about $27 billion last year on shipping and delivering goods and products from its warehouses and from its Whole Foods grocery store subsidiary. Self-driving delivery vehicles could slash that figure, though it would come at the expense of many jobs for drivers.
Aurora Innovation has made a name for itself as one of the more prominent startup firms working on self-driving car technology. It holds partnerships with VW, Hyundai, and China’s Byton. The company doesn’t plan to develop hardware for its own car, but instead, focus on software and let its partnerships with OEMs realize the final package. VW reportedly tried to outright purchase Aurora to catch up in the autonomous vehicle technologies sector, but the firm declined.
Other investors who funded Aurora in the latest round of investment included venture capital firm Sequoia and the investment arm of Shell Oil.