It is in direct competition with other tech companies such as Google's Waymo, Uber and Argo AI, a startup company that Ford invested in previous year. We know how to bring the right technology to bear, how to build the right self-driving system. Another co-founder is Sterling Anderson, who oversaw autonomous driving at Tesla.
Google, Uber and Tesla meanwhile are scrambling for talent to steer their own autonomous vehicle projects after the defections of Urmson and top engineers. The team also includes Drew Bagnell as chief technology officer, who previously led Uber's autonomy and perception team.
Aurora came to Pittsburgh a year ago but has made little noise since.
Volkswagen and Aurora have been working together for six months, and MaaS is "phase 1", Urmson told Business Insider. Urmson and Bagnell have strong ties to Carnegie Mellon University and Pittsburgh robotics companies. Skeptics counter that autonomous technology still has a long way to go before it can handle every traffic situation or road and weather conditions that are not optimal.
Meanwhile, Volkswagen has turned to Aurora to realise its vision of "mobility for all at the push of a button". For me this is the reinvention of mobility and the automobile..
The efforts buck the trend of automakers being cautious to work with Silicon Valley companies.
The partners will work on developing hardware and software for autonomous vehicles.
"Working with Aurora - the original experts and world leaders in self-driving system - will give us a giant leap forward in our mission to become the world's leading provider".
The goal of the VW Group and Aurora partnership is to bring safe and robust self-driving cars to roads worldwide as fast as possible, and across all VW Group brands.
We will start by incorporating Aurora self-driving technology into Hyundai models custom-developed and launched in test programs and pilot cities - Level 4 automation.
Urmson says his decision to start Aurora with other autonomous vehicle veterans had to do with happiness.
Based on those new partnerships and Urmson's blog, it sounds like Aurora doesn't want to develop its own autonomous vehicle, but instead aims to package an autonomous driving technology that can be integrated in different vehicles from automakers. The VW Group is hopeful of having a fully self-driving auto on public roads in the first cities by 2021, though in what capacity is not known. A year ago at the 2017 CES, Hyundai advanced its trials in urban environments, demonstrating self-driving technologies to the public with its autonomous Ioniq models. More details about the vehicle, an SUV, will be unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week and Hyundai hopes to deploy it in 2021 as part of a fleet service, Jang said.