A partnership between Volkswagen and self-driving automobile startup Aurora has finished, according to a report by the Financial Times, citing three individuals knowledgeable about the matter.
A spokesperson from VW affirmed the news, telling TechCrunch that “actions under our partnership have been concluded. ” VW did not offer any additional particulars.
Aurora didn’t provide any information either, accept to state VW Group was a “wonderful partner” since its early phases of development of its self-driving vehicle heap called the Aurora Driver.
Aurora, a nearly three-year-old startup that has raised $530 million, grows and provides both the “full-stack alternative ” for self-driving vehicles. It has existing partnerships with Hyundai, Byton and more lately Fiat Chrysler Automobiles as well as several other unnamed businesses, that it alluded to in its own statement.
“As the Driver matures and our stage grows in strength, we continue to work with a growing array of partners that match our experience and expand the reach of our product,” Aurora said in a statement.
The partnership wasn’t contentious and the initial arrangement ended on good terms, two sources knowledgeable about the bargain between Aurora and VW told TechCrunch. One source inferred to ongoing conversations between the two businesses without providing any information.
In the long run, what began as a cooperation, ended up as misalignment in wants and needs.
The two companies had been working together for six months prior to their joint January 2018 statement, not long after Sterling Anderson, Drew Bagnell and Chris Urmson had left jobs at Tesla, Uber and Waymo to found Aurora.
When the partnership was finally declared, VW said that the two businesses were planning to attract self-driving electrical vehicles to cities as Mobility-as-a-Service fleets. It was a significant ancient endorsement for Aurora and it showed VW was striking out beyond the confines of its own huge company to seek out the latest innovations.
The plan was for Volkswagen to deploy autonomous test cars developed by Aurora on public roads. Johann Jungwirth, VW’s chief digital officer at the time and a essential connection between the two businesses, said the amount of vehicles were planning to rise to “triple notes ” at 2019, and “four digits” at 2020, before going into production in 2021. Finally, the self-driving program may be incorporated over VW Group’s many manufacturers, such as Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Audi, Bentley, Skoda, along with Porsche. That never prevailed and Jungwirth left VW before this month.
VW was going through its own internal fluctuations as Herbert Diess chose the CEO place. And it appeared, based on insiders, which VW wanted more control within its autonomous vehicle program and even ownership. Bloomberg reported in August 2018 the VW, at the hunt for autonomous vehicle technology, had tried to buy Aurora. The startup dropped the deal above a desire to stay separate, according to the report.
A better match for VW’s needs might be Ford, or more specifically the Pittsburgh-based company Argo AI that the U.S. automaker spent $1 billion in 2017. Talks between the two companies have been continuing for months now, though there’s currently 1 bargain between VW and Ford secured in. Ford and VW finalized a deal in January to develop commercial vans and midsize pickup trucks together as ancient as 2022.
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