At Aurora, we make foundational investments in our technology to broadly deploy the Aurora Driver. Acquiring Blackmore and its world-class approach to lidar was one of those key investments. Just one year after welcoming Blackmore’s leading FMCW lidar team, we proudly unveiled Aurora’s FirstLight Lidar—a proprietary, differentiated sensor technology that not only unlocks long-distance sensing and highway driving capabilities, but also enables our team to deploy autonomous trucks and cars in quick succession.
We continue to invest in state-of-the-art prototyping and testing infrastructure to design and develop this increasingly powerful, purpose-built lidar technology. Today, we’re excited to share our next steps on our investments, which include building a new 78,000 square foot facility in Bozeman, Montana, where we will continue to grow our team and produce future generations of Aurora’s FirstLight Lidar to support our expanding fleet of commercial autonomous vehicles. This modern two-story facility will feature research and development labs, a world-class manufacturing space and clean room facility, a garage, and office and collaboration space for our Bozeman team. We are also collaborating with Montana State University (MSU) to open a new, state-of-the-art lidar test range.
As a nod to Aurora’s FirstLight lidar, which uses light to determine the location and velocity of objects around it, the design inspiration for Aurora’s new facility is “the movement of light.” Photo Credit: M Moser
Through our new facility, we are deepening our commitment to the region’s rich history and leadership in photonics. We are also excited to create opportunities for the next generation of photonics experts interested in cutting-edge autonomy applications. Our facility will be located on Montana State University’s Innovation Campus, building upon and strengthening our relationship with the esteemed institution that has produced industry-leading photonics engineers and innovations for more than 30 years.
“Aurora’s decision to open one of its major facilities on the Innovation Campus is a testament to the value Montana State University brings to the table as the state’s largest research enterprise. We have decades of experience in optics and photonics, and most importantly, we have graduates who are eager to work in cutting-edge industries like self-driving,” said Jason Carter, Vice President of Research, Economic Development, and Graduate Education at MSU.
“With our business-friendly environment, unmatched quality of life, and hardworking and talented workforce, Montana is emerging as a national hub for innovators like Aurora,” Montana Governor Greg Gianforte said. “We’re thrilled by Aurora’s investment in Montana through its new state-of-the-art facility and look forward to the opportunities their investment will bring hardworking Montanans.”
“Great news to have Aurora expanding here in Bozeman and creating new jobs for hardworking Montanans,” Montana Senator Steve Daines said. “Bozeman is a hot bed for visionary innovation and next-generation technology. I appreciate Aurora’s enduring commitment to invest in our great state and people.”
“The City of Bozeman’s long time support of the photonics sector and our partners at Montana State University, Gallatin College, and the Montana Photonics Industry Alliance attract innovative companies to Gallatin Valley and grow Montana’s economy,” said Brit Fontenot, City of Bozeman Economic Development Director. “Aurora’s expansion in Bozeman will strengthen the industry in the region and will create meaningful career opportunities for over 800 employees who work in the photonics industry. We look forward to partnering with Aurora as they build the future of autonomous vehicles right here in Bozeman!”
We see our new Bozeman facility as an investment in our culture of innovation and collaboration. Construction will take place throughout the year and we’re excited to move in as soon as it’s ready!