Apple''s Watch isn''t the first with an EKG reader but it will matter to more consumers Beats did announce something today, after all Apple Watch Series 4 up close and hands-on Everything Apple announced at its iPhone XS event iPhone XR up close and hands-on iPhone XS Max up close and hands-on Here''s how Apple''s stock fared during today''s big hardware event Watch Apple''s ''Mission: Impossible'' style spaceship HQ tour Apple Watch Hermès collection gets new color-blocked faces and bands Fitbit stock sinking following Apple Watch announcement macOS Mojave will launch September 24 Apple is releasing iOS 12 on September 17th Here are the prices of the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR So long then, iPhone home button... SpaceX successfully launches Iridium-5 Falcon 9 mission The SteelSeries Arctis Pro lineup is a new high-water mark in comfort and quality Watch SpaceX launch Iridium-5 aboard a re-used Falcon 9 rocket live SF Motors reveals first two EVs, aims to ship its first SUV by next year Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang clarifies Uber is not using its Drive platform Volkswagen''s Atlas Tanoak concept is a short-bed pickup truck dream BMW and Daimler agree to merge mobility service businesses Nvidia''s Jensen Huang cautions patience in judging Uber AV engineers Nvidia previews next-generation Drive Orin self-driving computer Nvidia debuts new Drive Constellation simulated self-driving test system Udacity introduces real robots and virtual worlds to help students build skills Udacity debuts a dedicated School of AI with three new nanodegrees 3D printed rocket maker Relativity raises $35M to simplify satellite launches Uber blocked from testing self-driving cars on Arizona roads Lynk & Co reveals the 02 crossover SUV and details European rollout plans Aurora hires SpaceX''s Jinnah Hosein, opens SF and Pittsburgh offices FedEx reserves 20 Tesla Semi all-electric big rig trucks Fleksy''s keyboard grabs $800k+ via equity crowdfunding Europe''s parliament calls for full audit of Facebook in wake of breach scandal Tim Berners-Lee on the huge sociotechnical design challenge Apple''s Tim Cook makes blistering attack on the ''data industrial complex'' Apple''s CEO Tim Cook to flag trust and humanity in major privacy speech SoftBank CEO pulls out of speaking at Saudi investment conference Fake news ''threat to democracy'' report gets back-burner response from UK gov''t Khashoggi''s fate shows the flip side of the surveillance state Microsoft''s $7.5BN GitHub buy gets green-lit by EU regulators Facebook hires former UK Lib Dem leader, Nick Clegg, as global policy chief Call for social media adtech to be probed by UK competition watchdog UK health minister sets out tech-first vision for future care provision Applied gets $2M to make hiring fairer - using algorithms, not AI Google tweaks Android licensing terms in Europe to allow Google app unbundling - for a fee Facebook rolls out checks for UK political ads Gartner picks digital ethics and privacy as a strategic trend for 2019 TravelPerk grabs $44M to take its pain-free SaaS for business travel global Saudi ally calls for Uber boycott over response to Khashoggi''s vanishing Lyft is reportedly close to buying the company behind Ford GoBike and Citi Bike
Amazon hires Disney SVP Kyle Laughlin as director of Alexa Gadgets
Apple’s battery cases return for the iPhone XS and XR
The Future Of TV Is HTML
This Week On Bullish: Can The Bold Italic Come Back?
Microsoft Drops New Windows 10 Mobile Build, Promises Faster Release Cadence
Cisco Pops 2.5% After Reporting Better-Than-Expected FQ4 Revenue Of $12.84B
Yahoo Sags 4% After Alibaba's Q2 Earnings Disappointment
Microsoft Postpones Ship Date For Its 'Surface Hub' Wall Computer To January
You Can Now Run Windows 10 On Your Mac
Microsoft Drops Another Windows 10 Update
Zulily's Buyout Spike Leaves It Less Valuable Than When It Went Public
Microsoft Launches New Windows 10 Build, Vows To Keep Its Early Access Program Alive


漂流瓶终于彻底拜拜 微信7.0.4新版体验
微信漂流瓶被玩坏了 聊聊漂流瓶里那些事
微信关闭漂流瓶 它曾经满足了我们对世界的好奇
微信暂停漂流瓶功能:对色情内容零容忍
[视频]惠普Chromebook x360 14 G1评测:搭载Chrome OS的商务变形本
特斯拉:北京客户可三年免息融资购车并免费租赁车牌
借贷宝:停止催收百名裸条女大学生 未满23岁将不得借贷
京东白条多地频现盗刷 消费者遭催收公司“逼债”
借款野蛮催收行为将被规范 真是几家欢喜几家愁
为规范网贷催收 上海互金协会发行业倡议书
腾讯解释为什么微信没有夜间模式 真相你相信吗?
一张发行8年的微信唱片:只收录了4首歌曲


Aurora co-founder and CEO Chris Urmson on the company's new investor, Amazon, and much more

当前位置: 艾金森 > 门户 > 海外资讯

点击量 13
编辑: 1   作者: Techcrunch   时间: 2019/3/25 16:15:10  

You might not think of self-driving technologies and politics having much in common, but at least in one way, they overlap meaningfully: yesterday’s enemy can be tomorrow’s ally.

Such was the message we gleaned Thursday night at a StrictlyVC event?in San Francisco, where we had the chance to sit down with Chris Urmson, the co-founder and CEO of Aurora, a company that (among many others) is endeavoring to make self-driving technologies a safer and more widely adopted alternative to human drivers.

It was a big day for Urmson. That morning, his two-year-old company announced a whopping $530 million in Series B funding, a round that was led by top firm Sequoia Capital and that included “significant investment" from T. Rowe Price and Amazon.

The financing for Aurora - which is building what it calls a “driver” technology that it expects to eventually integrate into cars built by Volkswagen, Hyundai and China’s Byton, among others - is highly notable, even in a sea of giant fundings. Not only does it represent Sequoia’s biggest bet yet on any kind of self-driving technology, it's also an "incredible endorsement" from T. Rowe Price, said Urmson Thursday night, suggesting it demonstrates that the money management giant "thinks long term and strategically [that] we're the independent option to self-driving cars."

Even more telling, perhaps, is the participation of Amazon, which is in constant competition to be the world's most valuable company, and whose involvement could lead to a variety of scenarios down the road, from Aurora powering delivery fleets overseen by Amazon, to Amazon acquiring Aurora outright. Amazon has already begun marketing more aggressively to global car companies and Tier 1 suppliers that are focused on building connected products, saying its AWS platform can help them speed their pace of innovation and lower their cost structures. In November, it also debuted a global, autonomous racing league for 1/18th scale, radio-controlled, self-driving four-wheeled race cars that are designed to help developers learn about reinforcement learning, a type of machine learning. Imagine what it could learn from Aurora.

Indeed, at the event, Urmson said that as Aurora had "constructed our funding round, [we were] very much thinking strategically about how to be successful in our mission of building a driver. And one thing that a driver can do is move people, but it can also move goods. And it's harder to think of a company where moving goods is more important than Amazon." Added Urmson, "Having the opportunity to have them partner with us in this funding round, and [talk about] what we might build in the future is awesome." (Aurora's site also now features language about "transforming the way people and goods move.")

The interest of Amazon, T. Rowe, Sequoia and Aurora's other backers isn't surprising.?Urmson was the formal technical lead of Google's self-driving car program (now Waymo) . One of his co-founders, Drew Bagnell, is a machine learning expert who still teaches at Carnegie Mellon and was formerly the head of Uber's autonomy and perception team. Aurora's third co-founder is Sterling Anderson, who led Tesla's Autopilot team.

Aurora's big round seemingly spooked Tesla investors, in fact, with shares in the electric car maker?dropping as media outlets reported on the details. The development seems like just the type of possibility that had Tesla CEO Elon Musk unsettled when Aurora got off the ground a couple of years ago and Tesla immediately filed a lawsuit against it, accusing Urmson and Anderson of trying to poach at least a dozen Tesla engineers and accusing Anderson of taking confidential information and destroying the? evidence "in an effort to cover his tracks.”

That suit was dropped two and a half weeks later in a settlement that saw Aurora pay $100,000. Anderson said at the time the amount was meant to cover the cost of an independent auditor to scour?Aurora’s systems for confidential Tesla information. Urmson reiterated on Thursday night that it was purely an "economic decision" meant to keep Aurora from getting further embroiled in an expensive spat.

But Urmson, who has previously called the lawsuit "classy," didn't take the bait on Thursday when asked about Musk, including whether he has talked in the last two years with Musk (no), and whether Aurora might need Tesla in the future (possibly). Instead of lording Aurora's momentum over the company, Urmson said that Aurora and Tesla "got off on the wrong foot." Laughing a bit, he went on to lavish some praise on the self-driving technology that lives inside Tesla cars,?adding that "if there's an opportunity to work with them in the future, that'd be great."

Aurora, which is also competing now against the likes of Uber, also sees Uber as a potential partner down the line, said Urmson. Asked about the company's costly self-driving efforts, whose scale has been drastically downsized in the 11 months since one of its vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona, Urmson noted simply that Aurora is "in the business of delivering the driver, and Uber needs a lot of drivers, so we think it would be wonderful to partner with them, to partner with Lyft, to partner [with companies with similar ambitions] globally. We see those companies as partners in the future."

He added, when asked for more specifics, that there's "nothing to talk about right now."

Before Thursday's event, Aurora had sent us some more detailed information about the four divisions that currently employ the 200 people that make up the company, a number that will obviously expand with its new round, as will the testing it's doing, both on California roads and in Pittsburgh, where it also has a sizable presence. We didn't have a chance to run them during our conversation with Urmson, but we thought they were interesting and that you might think so, too.

Below, for example, is the "hub" of the Aurora Driver. This is the computer system that powers, coordinates and fuses signals from all of the vehicle’s sensors, executes the software and controls the vehicle. Aurora says it's designing the Aurora Driver to seamlessly integrate with a wide variety of vehicle platforms from different makes, models and classes.

And here is a visual representation of Aurora's perception system, which the company says is able to understand complex urban environments where vehicles need to safely navigate amid many moving objects, including bikes, scooters, pedestrians and cars.

It didn't imagine it would at the outset, but Aurora is also building its own mapping system to ensure what it (unsurprisingly) calls the highest level of precision and scalability, so vehicles powered by the company can understand where they are and update the maps as the world changes.

We asked Urmson if, when the tech is finally ready to go into cars, Aurora will white-label the technology or else its customers will use Aurora's brand as a selling point. He said the matter hasn't been decided yet but seemed to suggest that Aurora is leaning in the latter direction.

He also said the technology would be installed on the carmakers' factory floors (with Aurora's help).

One of the ways that Aurora says it's able to efficiently develop a robust "driver" is to build its own simulation system.

It uses its simulator to test its software with different scenarios that vehicles encounter on the road, which it says enables repeatable testing that's impossible to achieve by just driving more miles. You can see a seemingly see a merger happening in the graphic.

Aurora's motion planning team works closely with the perception team to create a system that both detects the important objects on and around the road, and tries to accurately predict how they will move in the future. The ability to capture, understand and predict the motion of other objects is critical if the tech is going to navigate real-world scenarios in dense urban environments, and Urmson has said in the past that Aurora's workflow in this area is superior to competitors that send the technology back and forth between teams.

Specifically, he told The Atlantic last year: "The classic way you engineer a system like this is that you have a team working on perception. They go out and make it as good as they can, and they get to a plateau and hand it off to the motion-planning people. And they write the thing that figures out where to stop or how to change a lane, and it deals with all the noise that’s in the perception system because it’s not seeing the world perfectly. It has errors. Maybe it thinks it’s moving a little faster or slower than it is. Maybe every once in a while it generates a false positive. The motion-planning system has to respond to that.

"So the motion-planning people are lagging behind the perception people, but they get it all dialed in and it’s working well enough — as well as it can with that level of perception — and then the perception people say, 'Oh, but we’ve got a new push [of code].' Then the motion-planning people are behind the eight ball again, and their system is breaking when it shouldn’t."

We also asked Urmson about Google, whose self-driving unit was renamed Waymo as it spun out from the Alphabet umbrella as its own company. He was highly diplomatic, saying only good things about his former employer and, when asked if the company ever challenged him on anything since leaving (as Tesla had challenged Anderson), he said it had not.

Still, he told us one of the biggest advantages that Aurora enjoys is that it was able to use the learnings of its three founders and to start from scratch, whereas big companies cannot.

As he also?told TechCrunch in a separate interview last year, when it comes to creating effective self-driving tech, size matters less than one might imagine. "There's this really easy metric that everyone is using, which is number of miles driven, and it's one of those things that was really convenient for me in my old place [Google] because we're out there and we were doing a hell of a lot more than anybody else was at the time, and so it was an easy number to talk about. What's lost in that, though, is it's not really the volume of the miles that you drive." It's about the quality of the data, he'd continued, suggesting that, for now, at least, Aurora's is hard to beat.