In the span of three weeks, Aurora has laid the groundwork for its self-driving future.
The tech startup, which has resisted tying itself too closely to any one partner, inked what it called a "long-term agreement" with two big ones last week. Aurora joined Toyota Motor Corp. and Denso Corp. in an effort to engineer self-driving minivans which will be at least partially deployed on Uber's ride-hailing network.
This partnership is likely to stick. The global automaker and its key affiliate supplier had invested $667 million in Uber's Advanced Technologies Group nearly two years before it was acquired by Aurora last month. In that latter deal, Uber pitched in $400 million to acquire a 26 percent stake in Aurora.
While the financial terms of last week's agreement were not disclosed, suffice to say the companies are tied together.
The robotaxi partnership arrives only weeks after Aurora established another long-term partnership, this one with PACCAR that involves developing self-driving trucks, the area of autonomy in which Aurora says it will first commercialize a product.
But the company is now more multidimensional. Enabled by the flurry of recent partnerships, it has planks in place for both its passenger-carrying and cargo-hauling businesses.
"Aurora's belief has been, as a company, to focus on the thing we do best in the world, and then work in partnerships with others to bring that to the market and serve our customers," Aurora co-founder Chris Urmson said on a recent Shift podcast.