VW's partnership with the launch of the Aurora autonomous car is over – TechCrunch


According to a Financial Times report, a partnership between Volkswagen and the start-up of the autonomous Aurora vehicle has come to an end, citing three people close to the case.

A spokesman for VW confirmed this news by informing TechCrunch that "the activities carried out within the framework of our partnership have been completed". VW gave no other details.

Aurora also did not provide details, agreed to say that the VW group was a "wonderful partner "since the beginning of the development of its autonomous vehicle battery called Aurora Driver.

Aurora, a nearly three-year-old startup that raised $ 530 million, is developing and providing the "complete solution" for autonomous vehicles. She has partnerships with Hyundai, Byton and more recently Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, as well as several other limited companies, to which she referred in her statement.

"As the pilot matures and our platform strengthens, we continue to work with a growing number of partners who complement our expertise and expand the reach of our product," Aurora said in a statement.

The partnership was not litigated and the initial agreement resulted in good conditions, two sources close to the agreement between Aurora and VW told TechCrunch. A source inferred from the continuation of conversations between the two companies without providing details.

In the end, what began as a collaboration ended up being a misalignment of desires and needs.

The two companies had been working together for six months before their joint announcement in January 2018, shortly after Sterling Anderson, Drew Bagnell and Chris Urmson left their jobs at Tesla, Uber and Waymo to found Aurora.

When the partnership was finally announced, VW announced that the two companies were preparing to import autonomous electric vehicles into the cities as Mobility-as-a-Service fleets. It was an important start for Aurora and showed that VW was pushing the limits of its gigantic enterprise to look for the latest innovations.

Volkswagen was scheduled to deploy stand-alone test vehicles developed with Aurora on public roads. Johann Jungwirth, VW Digital Director at the time and a key link between the two companies, said that the number of test vehicles would move to "three-digit" in 2019 and "four-digit" in 2020, before to go into production 2021. In time, the automatic steering system could be integrated into many brands of the VW group, including passenger cars Volkswagen, Audi, Bentley, Skoda and Porsche. That never materialized and Jungwirth left VW earlier this month.

VW was undergoing its own internal changes when Herbert Diess took the place of the CEO. And it appeared, based on insiders, that VW wanted more control over its autonomous vehicle program and possibly even ownership. Bloomberg reported in August 2018 that VW, looking for an autonomous vehicle technology, had tried to buy Aurora. The start-up declined the offer on its desire to remain independent, according to the report.

Ford, or more precisely the Pittsburgh-based company Argo AI, said the US automaker had invested $ 1 billion in 2017. Discussions between the two companies have been going on for months, although an agreement has already been signed between VW and Ford locked. In January, Ford and VW reached an agreement to jointly build commercial vans and mid-size vans by 2022.


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