Tech profile: Aurora - the self-drive startup

By Matt High
Aurora Innovation is an innovative, self-driving technology startup disrupting the automotive industry with hardware, software and data Aurora is build...

Aurora Innovation is an innovative, self-driving technology startup disrupting the automotive industry with hardware, software and data

Aurora is building the automotive future. The company, which was founded in 2017 by CEO Chris Urmson, is dedicated to delivering the benefits of self-driving technology safely, quickly and broadly. 

It’s product, Aurora Driver will enable a future transportation ecosystem that brings together vehicle manufacturers, mobility and logistics services and fleet management providers. 

Aurora Driver: the world’s driver

The platform combines hardware, software and data services in a way that allows vehicles to move safely and efficiently. 

In simple terms, it combines sensors that assess the environment in real time, software that takes this data and plans a safe path for the vehicle and advanced computer technology. 

Aurora’s localisation software is capable of determining position within 10 centimetres and 0.1 degree of accuracy, even in environments that deny or deceive GPS. 

The technologies that comprise Aurora Driver are underpinned by the company’s cloud-based platform, Aurora Cloud. 

This acts as a common interface between the vehicles that are powered by Aurora and those individuals and products/services being transported. It can also host transportation networks and fleet management apparatus. 

For example, logistics providers can dispatch vehicles and products through Aurora Cloud, routing the between locations. Similarly, fleet management operators are able to park, charge, warehouse and maintain vehicles fitted with Aurora Driver.

Aurora CLoud image

Rigorous engineering

Aurora is driven by technological excellence and the prioritising of long-term success over quick wins. 

It does, it explains, “incorporate proven industry best practices, and leverage our decades  of engineering, science, and domain experience to deliver self-driving technology safely, quickly, and broadly.”

Aurora looks to fuse “rigorous engineering with state-of-the-art machine learning to allow for safe, extensible, and scalable deployment”. 

The company is built around a team of highly experienced engineers - Urmson, for example, led Google’s self-driving car project for close to eight years before starting Aurora, while co-founder Sterling Anderson developed MIT’s intelligent CoPilot and led the teams that launched Tesla’s Model X and Autopilot.

Collectively, Aurora’s team of engineers has:

  • Built autonomous vehicles for government
  • Led autonomous vehicle programmes
  • Designed, built and shipped electric vehicles
  • Developed and built robotics technology and solutions
  • Launched and landed rockets

Read more about Aurora here.


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