Aurora delivers a suite of autonomous driving technologies to automakers (Photo: Aurora)

Autonomous-vehicle technology start-up Aurora raised 90 million dollars in a financing round led by two venture capital companies, Greylock Partners and Index Ventures.

Aurora was co-founded by Chris Urmson, the former Google executive who spearheaded that company’s autonomous car initiatives. Urmson now is CEO of Aurora.

Reid Hoffman, Greylock partner and one of the co-founders of LinkedIn, said in a blog post that Aurora was one of the “most innovative companies in transporation and autonomy.”

Mike Volpi, co-founder and general partner of Index Ventures, added: “We believe that Aurora and the technology it is building will bring about renaissance in the transportation industry.”

He cited the team that Aurora has put together as a major success factor, but also noted that company executives have a philosophy that may hold the key to merging the Silicon Valley high-tech culture with the more than 100 year old automotive industry.

“They have huge respect for automakers and don’t underestimate what it takes to create a product that functions ove a lifetime of 15 years,” Volpi said.

Aurora delivers a suite of technologies that can be integrated into cars. It already has partnerships with the Volkswagen Group, Hyundai and electric-vehicle start-up Byton.

Greylock’s Hoffman, in his blog post, said “self-driving cars have the potential to radically reshape the world.” But he added that the revolution will take time.

“Even if every factory in the US started producing only autonomous vehicles in 2018, it would still take at least 15 years or so to build enough cars to replace all the cars that are currently on the road,” he said. “We are still at least two decades away from replacing all cars with autonomous vehicles.”

For the near to medium term, Hoffman envisions a “a blended, hybrid environment where autonomous technology is built and deployed in collaboration with car manufacturers.”

By Arjen Bongard