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Volvo & PACCAR invest in startup that plans to deploy driverless truck tech by 2023


On Thursday, self-driving technology company Aurora announced that multiple companies including Volvo and PACCAR are investors in special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) that will infuse billions of dollars into the operation in a push to be the first to bring highly automated Class 8 trucks to market.

According to the July 15 announcement, the SPAC merger will create a publicly traded combined company called Aurora Innovation, Inc.

Uber, PACCAR, and Volvo Group are all named as strategic investors in the deal.

The deal is expected to close this year and will boost the company’s valuation by an estimated $11 billion.

Aurora says that they plan to integrate highly automated Level 4 autonomous driving technology inside of Class 8 Volvo and PACCAR trucks by late 2023. Level 4 automation means that human assistance is not required to complete driving tasks.

“Aurora’s truck manufacturing partners, Volvo Group (which includes Volvo Autonomous Solutions) and PACCAR (which includes the Peterbilt and Kenworth brands) collectively represent approximately 50 percent of the Class 8 trucks sold in the U.S. market. As long-term committed partners, Volvo and PACCAR will help accelerate the development, validation, and deployment of self-driving trucks. Aurora is also expected to scale rapidly in passenger mobility with the support of Toyota, the world’s #1 OEM supplier, and Uber, the largest ride-hailing network globally by market-cap,” the company said in a news release.

“Our goal at Aurora is to make the movement of goods and people more equitable, productive, dependable, and—crucially—much safer than it is today,” said Chris Urmson, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Aurora. “By combining with Reinvent and with this incredible group of investors, we are even closer to deploying self-driving vehicles and delivering the benefits this technology offers the world.”

Aurora was founded in 2017 by Sterling Anderson, Drew Bagnell, and Chris Urmson and currently employs about 1600 workers.


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