Only ten years into the intense development into autonomous vehicle, the very new industry has created their own super group. Called Aurora Innovation the company was founded by some of the biggest names in the industry. Chris Urmson, Drew Bagnell, and Sterling Anderson started Aurora in late 2016 to help develop self-driving technologies and will soon begin testing in geofenced areas.
The trio’s experience runs deep. After helping lead Carnegie Mellon’s efforts in Darpa’s Grand Challenges, Urmson became a founding member of Google’s self-driving team, which he ran until 2016. Anderson worked on the tech at MIT before bringing his talents to bear on Tesla’s Autopilot system. Bagnell, another CMU alum, is a machine learning expert who helped build Uber’s autonomy effort.
They entered a self-driving industry big on promises. Waymo (which started as Google’s project) says it will deploy its cars in a commercial service by the end of this year. General Motors is targeting 2019. Zoox, a secretive startup that has raised $800 million, is looking at 2020. Ford has promised large fleets of autonomous vehicles come 2021 (though it hasn’t brought that up since it swapped out CEOs last year).
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