Aurora Nasdaq Ipo 618535562d7b4

Aurora becomes latest self-driving truck company to go public

Nov. 5, 2021
The AI trucking company, which has partnerships with Volvo and Paccar, merged with a special purpose acquisition company. The deal gives Aurora nearly $2 billion in cash on hand as it plans to start offering autonomy as a service to fleets.

Driver shortages and supply chain problems have become part of the public consciousness since the pandemic began nearly two years ago. One of the potential solutions to those problems is autonomous freight movement, as several AI companies are working to create supply chain and driver solutions. They are also looking for investors to fund the emerging technology.

Self-driving technology company Aurora became the second major autonomous trucking company to trade on a U.S. stock exchange after its Nov. 4 initial public offering on Nasdaq. The money raised by the trucking technology company this week could help it get closer to offering its autonomous freight movement as a service to fleets in the U.S.

The Pittsburgh and Silicon Valley-based AI company—which has OEM partnerships with Volvo Trucks and Paccar—merged earlier in the week with Reinvent Technology Partners Y, a special purpose acquisition company. Earlier this year, rival TuSimple raised more than $1 billion in its Nasdaq IPO. Embark Trucks, another robot truck company, is planning to go public soon.

Aurora, trading under the ticker symbol AUR, closed its deal with Reinvent Technology Partners with more than $1.8 billion cash on hand.

“Today marks a significant milestone for Aurora and the self-driving industry as we revolutionize transportation—making it safer, increasingly accessible, and more reliable and efficient than ever before,” said Chris Urmson, co-founder and CEO of Aurora. “With our expert team, deep industry partnerships, and cutting-edge technology, Aurora is the company to deploy the Aurora Driver at scale across both autonomous trucking and passenger mobility. As a public company, we’ll accelerate the work we’re doing to deliver the benefits of self-driving technology safely, quickly, and broadly.”

Aurora’s flagship product, the Aurora Driver is designed to turn any vehicle—from a Class 8 truck to a passenger car—into a self-driving vehicle. Aurora plans to launch its autonomous commercial trucking business Aurora Horizon by late 2023, followed by its driverless ride-hailing business, Aurora Connect, in 2024. Aurora’s “driver-as-a-service” business model would offer fleet owners the ability to purchase vehicles powered by the Aurora Driver, subscribe to use the Aurora Driver, and utilize Aurora-certified fleet service partners to operate autonomous mobility and logistics services.

Across freight and personal mobility, Aurora is partnering with leading manufacturers and networks, including one of the most extensive transportation and logistics companies in the world, FedEx; the largest global ride-hailing platform, Uber; the No. 1 global vehicle OEM, Toyota; and two North American OEMs in trucking, Volvo and Paccar.

In advance of its IPO, Aurora highlighted some of its achievements in 2021: 

  • Demonstrated technical progress with Aurora-powered Peterbilt 579 trucks hauling goods on Texas highways for FedEx through Aurora’s collaboration with FedEx and Paccar.

  • Accelerated work with partners through the Aurora Driver Development Program—delivering the prototype of Volvo’s first commercial autonomous truck for the U.S. market and the prototype of the Aurora-Powered Toyota Sienna.

  • Aurora expects to have driven the equivalent of more than 9 billion simulated miles by the end of 2021. The company continues to scale up its Virtual Testing Suite, running millions of daily tests to add capabilities to the Aurora Driver rapidly.

  • Introduced the industry’s first published safety case framework to address both autonomous trucking and passenger mobility, which the company believes is an imperative component for any business planning to deliver commercial-ready autonomous vehicles at scale by operating on public roads without a vehicle operator.

Initial investors in Aurora include funds and accounts managed by Counterpoint Global (Morgan Stanley), PRIMECAP Management Company and XN, Baillie Gifford, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates Inc., Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Reinvent Capital, Index Ventures, Sequoia Capital, Uber, Paccar, and Volvo Group.

“We believe Aurora is the best way to invest in the future of self-driving across segments, and we look forward to supporting Aurora as it transforms how goods and people move through the world,” said Mark Pincus, co-founder, and director of Reinvent Technology Partners Y.

About the Author

FleetOwner Staff

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Kevin Jones, Editorial Director, Commercial Vehicle Group

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