$530 million investment in Aurora Innovation could create Pittsburgh jobs | TribLIVE.com

$530 million investment in Aurora Innovation could create Pittsburgh jobs

Nicole C. Brambila

A $530 million infusion into a self-driving startup could mean dozens of new jobs in Pittsburgh.

Announced this week, Aurora Innovation raised the money from a group of investors that includes the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, Amazon and T. Rowe Price Group.

Founded two years ago, the self-driving car company shares its headquarters in Pittsburgh and Palo Alto, Calif. Roughly half of its 200 employees are located in Pittsburgh.

Company officials said the investment will help accelerate development of autonomous vehicles.

“A big part of this is building the team in Pittsburgh,” said Khobi Brooklyn, an Aurora spokeswoman. “Pittsburgh is our headquarters. And we’re very excited that we have the ability to grow and add people to our team, and that means people from Pittsburgh.”

Aurora, which has partnerships with Hyundai and Volkswagen, is one of four driverless vehicle companies conducting road tests in Allegheny County, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. While the industry has seen an explosion of growth in recent years, no other county in Pennsylvania has as many testing vehicles steered by artificial intelligence.

Amazon officials said Friday they are always looking for their next investment opportunity, and that Aurora was a good fit.

“We are always looking to invest in innovative, customer-obsessed companies, and Aurora is just that,” an Amazon spokesperson said in an email to the Tribune-Review. “Autonomous technology has the potential to help make the jobs of our employees and partners safer and more productive, whether it’s in a fulfillment center or on the road, and we’re excited about the possibilities.”

Carl Eschenbach, a partner at Sequoia Capital, agreed.

“We’re excited by the speed of innovation in which Aurora is developing its technology and growing the company,” he said. “The high caliber of their executive team along with their unique approach to the autonomous vehicle market made it a clear choice for us to partner with them. We see this partnership as an opportunity to support an amazing team building innovative technology and leading the next radical transformation of transportation.”

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto did not respond to requests for comment through his representatives.

Nicole Brambila is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Nicole at 724-226-7704, [email protected] or via Twitter @nbrambila.

Nicole C. Brambila is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Nicole at 724-226-7704, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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