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 automobiles, mild business automobiles and heavy-duty vehicles. | Supply: Aurora

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

A few of Argo AI’s round 2,000 workers would both be receiving presents from Ford, whose president and CEO stated the corporate anticipated to make a number of hundred presents, or VW. The remainder can 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 observe to Aurora’s publication in regards to the current information. 

Urmson’s complete observe will be learn under. 

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

Argo is shutting down.

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

However I additionally wish to be clear that this isn’t a sign {that a} future with self-driving know-how isn’t actual or imminent. The truth is, it’s fairly the other. 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 will probably be the primary vertical throughout the autonomous car trade to generate important income, in order that has been our focus.

We’re making autonomous freight deliveries daily for pilot clients like FedEx, Werner, Schneider, and Uber Freight. The truth is, when you obtained a FedEx parcel that obtained shipped from Houston, there’s an opportunity that it sat in one among our vehicles on the way in which to you.

We have now 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 automobiles, and our independence provides them the flexibility to spend money on it with out shouldering the price of creating this know-how alone.
Lastly, we have now a transparent path, plan, and timeline to market.

I’ve been on this trade for practically 20 years, and on this second, proper now, I imagine we have now by no means been nearer to delivering self-driving automobiles to the world. Extra importantly, this know-how has by no means been wanted extra. Over 40,000 folks died in automotive crashes final yr, up 10% from the earlier yr. 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 1,000,000 accidents involving vehicles a yr. Self-driving know-how is just not a science challenge. It is likely one of the subsequent main technological improvements that may rework 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 purchasers after we launch and the way we practice the Aurora Driver to soundly reply to pedestrians.

Oh, and yet one more factor. We’re hiring! We have now over 160 positions out there throughout the nation, and we want a group with the experience, dedication, and fervour for taking up this once-in-a-generation alternative head-on. If that sounds such as you and also you wish to be on the group that will get this know-how on our roads and transforms transportation, please come be a part of us.

—Chris Urmson, CEO, Aurora


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