April 14, 2021
Toyota and Aurora form global, long-term partnership to develop self-driving cars

Toyota and Aurora form global, long-term partnership to develop self-driving cars


Toyota Aurora Denso Partnership

Toyota

Aurora, the self-driving startup that in December¬†acquired Uber’s autonomous-vehicle business, announced a new partnership on Tuesday. The firm will work with Toyota and auto parts supplier Denso to further develop and democratize this nascent technology.

Aurora is working on a self-driving platform, the core hardware and software that enables Level 4 or Level 5 autonomy, vehicles that can basically drive themselves in nearly every situation. The plan is to perfect this technology and then sell it off to auto companies so they don’t have to spend the money or do the research to develop it on their own.

By the end of this year, the company aims to deploy an initial fleet of vehicles fitted with its Aurora Driver autonomous system. The spacious and efficient Toyota Sienna minivan is the firm’s platform of choice.

Aurora’s new partnership with Toyota and Denso is the latest in a long line of tie-ups for this unusually polyamorous company. Around a year and a half ago, Hyundai and Kia invested in Aurora, Hyundai having previously worked with the company. Volkswagen was in on the action too. Aurora also recently partnered with heavy-truck manufacture Paccar to develop self-driving big-rigs. But by working with these Japanese giants in the automotive world, the company gains access to Denso’s mass-production and engineering know-how as well as Toyota’s blue-chip reputation. When vehicles are eventually deployed at scale to ride-sharing fleets over the next few years, it’ll benefit from the automaker’s financing, insurance and maintenance proficiency too.

“Toyota has an unparalleled legacy, engineering expertise, leadership, and ability to deliver high-quality, affordable, and reliable vehicles,” Chris Urmson, Aurora’s CEO, said in a statement. He also noted that Toyota is the preferred brand of ride-hailing networks because of the robustness and long-term durability of its cars and trucks.

Aurora is looking to get its tech out onto public roads in a meaningful way, similar to how Waymo fitted its fleet of Chrysler Pacifica minivans with its own self-driving technology. Aurora wants to quickly and broadly deploy autonomous-capable vehicles, and this long-term global partnership with Toyota and Denso should help make that happen.


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