Daily Management Review

VW End Technology Partnership With Self-Driving Car Startup Aurora


VW End Technology Partnership With Self-Driving Car Startup Aurora
A report in the Financial Times, citing source information, claimed that the much talked about partnership between the German auto giant and the largest manufacturers of vehicles in the world Volkswagen and the self-driving vehicle startup Aurora has come to an end. \
The report of the Financial Times was later confirmed to other media by a spokesperson from VW who said that “activities under our partnership have been concluded.” Without providing any more detail of the breakup.
No details were also provided by Aurora except to praising the VW Group to be a “wonderful partner” ever since the firm has embarked on the process of development of of its self-driving vehicle stack dubbed the Aurora Driver.
As a three year old startup, Aurora has been able to attract attention of the auto world as well as investors by raising about $530 million and its primary activity is to develop and supply the “full-stack solution” required for development of self-driving vehicles. The company currently also holds partnership in this area with Hyundai and Byton and had recently also struck a partnership with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. There are also a number of other unnamed companies that receive technological assistance from Aurora. 
“As the Driver matures and our platform grows in strength, we continue to work with a growing array of partners who complement our expertise and expand the reach of our product,” Aurora said in a statement.
According to sources quoted in the media, there was little confrontation in the partnership and the initial phase had ended on a good note and terms.
However there were industry experts who said that the collaboration between the companies ended because of a difference between the wants and needs of the two parties.
The two companies had announced the partnership jointly in January 2018 after having worked together for six months. It was not long ago that Aurora had been founded by Sterling Anderson, Drew Bagnell and Chris Urmson who were former employees of Tesla, Uber and Waymo respectively.
Initially, the partnership would was aimed to jointly bring to market self-driving electric vehicles to cities as Mobility-as-a-Service fleets according to the announcement that VW had made at the time of the declaration of the partnership. That partnership was viewed as an important endorsement for the capabilities of Aurora and also reflected the focus of VW of seeking out the latest technology and expertise outside of its massive company.
VW planned to deploy autonomous test vehicles on public roads that were planned to be jointly developed with Aurora. The two companies had planned to increase the number of test vehicles reach “triple digits” by 2019, and then to achieve a “four digit” number in 2020 and ultimately go into production by the end of 2021, Johann Jungwirth, the then chief digital officer of VW at the time of the announcement of the partnership and crucial link between the two companies in this regard, had said. Ultimately VW had planned to integrate the self-driving system developed jointly throughout the multiple brands at VW Group include those of VW Passenger Cars, Audi, Bentley, Skoda, and Porsche.