HomeRoboticsAurora CEO Chris Urmson weighs in on Argo AI shutdown

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 autos, mild industrial autos and heavy-duty vans. | Supply: Aurora

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

A few of Argo AI’s round 2,000 workers would both be receiving affords from Ford, whose president and CEO mentioned the corporate anticipated to make a number of hundred affords, or VW. The remaining could be let go and obtain severance packages that embrace 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 word to Aurora’s publication concerning the current information. 

Urmson’s complete word may be learn beneath. 

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

Argo is shutting down.

First, my ideas are with Bryan Salesky and all the Argo staff—this trade is small, everyone knows one another effectively, and many people right here at Aurora have labored with the Argo staff, watched them develop, and seen the impression they’ve made. It’s disappointing, and it’s unlucky, and their absence can 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. In actual fact, it’s fairly the other. Waymo not too long ago 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 inside the autonomous automobile trade to generate vital income, in order that has been our focus.

We’re making autonomous freight deliveries every single day for pilot prospects like FedEx, Werner, Schneider, and Uber Freight. In actual fact, if you happen to received a FedEx parcel that received shipped from Houston, there’s an opportunity that it sat in one among our vans on the best way to you.

Now we have shut, collaborative partnerships with PACCAR and Volvo Vans (which collectively produce virtually 50% of all Class 8 vans in the US) and with main transportation leaders like Toyota and Uber. These firms see the long-term worth of autonomous autos, and our independence provides them the power to spend money on it with out shouldering the price of creating this know-how alone.
Lastly, we now have a transparent path, plan, and timeline to market.

I’ve been on this trade for almost 20 years, and on this second, proper now, I consider we now have by no means been nearer to delivering self-driving autos to the world. Extra importantly, this know-how has by no means been wanted extra. Over 40,000 folks died in automobile crashes final 12 months, up 10% from the earlier 12 months. Trucking is an over $700B enterprise, transferring 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 virtually half 1,000,000 accidents involving vans a 12 months. Self-driving know-how will not be a science undertaking. It is among the subsequent main technological improvements that may remodel 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 patrons after we launch and the way we prepare the Aurora Driver to securely reply to pedestrians.

Oh, and yet one more factor. We’re hiring! Now we have over 160 positions accessible throughout the nation, and we’d like a staff with the experience, dedication, and fervour for taking over this once-in-a-generation alternative head-on. If that sounds such as you and also you wish to be on the staff 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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