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HomeRoboticsAurora CEO Chris Urmson weighs in on Argo AI shutdown

Aurora CEO Chris Urmson weighs in on Argo AI shutdown

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Aurora’s premier product, the Aurora Driver, can be utilized to autonomously function passenger autos, gentle industrial autos and heavy-duty vehicles. | Supply: Aurora

Ford and VW introduced this week that the businesses could be ending their funding in Argo AI, a self-driving firm with partnerships with Lyft and Walmart, and that the corporate could be shutting its doorways.

A few of Argo AI’s round 2,000 workers would both be receiving affords from Ford, whose president and CEO stated the corporate anticipated to make a number of hundred affords, or VW. The remaining could be let go and obtain severance packages that embody insurance coverage and two separate bonuses. 

Chris Urmson, the co-founder and CEO of Aurora, a self-driving firm that has partnerships with Toyota and Uber, shared a be aware to Aurora’s e-newsletter in regards to the latest information. 

Urmson’s complete be aware will be learn beneath. 

Sorry to interrupt your often scheduled programming, however main information was introduced within the self-driving business yesterday and I needed to share my perspective.

Argo is shutting down.

First, my ideas are with Bryan Salesky and all the Argo crew—this business is small, everyone knows one another nicely, and many people right here at Aurora have labored with the Argo crew, watched them develop, and seen the impression they’ve made. It’s disappointing, and it’s unlucky, and their absence can be felt in Pittsburgh and within the bigger AV business.

However I additionally wish to be clear that this isn’t a sign {that a} future with self-driving expertise isn’t actual or imminent. In reality, it’s fairly the alternative. Waymo just lately introduced the enlargement of their robotaxi fleet to LA. Cruise is charging for his or her driverless robotaxi rides in San Francisco.

And as for us? We’ve lengthy believed that long-haul trucking is the easiest way to enter the market, and that it will likely be the primary vertical inside the autonomous automobile business to generate important income, in order that has been our focus.

We’re making autonomous freight deliveries day by day for pilot prospects like FedEx, Werner, Schneider, and Uber Freight. In reality, if you happen to acquired a FedEx parcel that acquired shipped from Houston, there’s an opportunity that it sat in one among our vehicles on the best way to you.

We’ve got shut, collaborative partnerships with PACCAR and Volvo Vehicles (which collectively produce nearly 50% of all Class 8 vehicles in america) and with main transportation leaders like Toyota and Uber. These firms see the long-term worth of autonomous autos, and our independence offers them the power to spend money on it with out shouldering the price of creating this expertise alone.
Lastly, we’ve a transparent path, plan, and timeline to market.

I’ve been on this business for almost twenty years, and on this second, proper now, I consider we’ve by no means been nearer to delivering self-driving autos to the world. Extra importantly, this expertise has by no means been wanted extra. Over 40,000 folks died in automobile crashes final 12 months, up 10% from the earlier 12 months. Trucking is an over $700B enterprise, shifting over 72% of the nation’s freight by weight, however we simply don’t have sufficient drivers to maneuver all of it. It’s additionally harmful – there are nearly half one million accidents involving vehicles a 12 months. Self-driving expertise just isn’t a science venture. It is among the subsequent main technological improvements that may remodel our society—for the higher—and we’re making constant, regular, and thrilling progress in direction of getting there.

So, with that, I flip you again to The Dashboard and to some significant updates from the final month—together with extra element about how our autonomous trucking service Aurora Horizon will work for patrons after we launch and the way we prepare the Aurora Driver to securely reply to pedestrians.

Oh, and another factor. We’re hiring! We’ve got over 160 positions accessible throughout the nation, and we’d like a crew with the experience, dedication, and fervour for taking over this once-in-a-generation alternative head-on. If that sounds such as you and also you wish to be on the crew that will get this expertise on our roads and transforms transportation, please come be part of us.

—Chris Urmson, CEO, Aurora



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