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Why Wall Street is Backing Aurora

From our leaders | Progress | July 21, 2023 | 3 min. read

By Chris Urmson

Why Wall Street is Backing Aurora

Thoughts on our progress and a clear path to commercialization

It’s an awesome day for the self-driving vehicle industry and Aurora. Today, we’re sharing more about Aurora’s $820 million public and private funding, which we announced earlier this week. This huge amount of funding gives us the runway through next year’s expected commercial launch and well into 2025.

We are fortunate to have incredible partners in the capital markets. Throughout Aurora’s history and in this most recent fundraise, we have had incredibly strong support from top-tier institutional investors, both existing and new, as well as strategic partners. The backing of these investors is a testament to our progress and potential.

We’re all living through an uncertain time in the financial markets. Despite some thaw, investors continue to be very cautious with their clients’ money, wanting an extra degree of conviction to make a big bet. It’s part of why we’re proud to be able to raise the better part of a billion dollars to continue our mission. Investors see what we see – an incredible and unique opportunity to do something important and valuable in the world.  

From where I sit, there are several things that make Aurora special and I suspect these are some of the things that have resonated with our investors.

We do what we say


About a year ago, we shared a roadmap that detailed the steps we needed to take to put a commercial self-driving truck on the road. So far, we’ve hit every milestone, setting a new standard for transparency in talking about our development progress. When you’re doing something this complex, it’s important to be able to help others take the journey with you.  

We hit our most significant benchmark – Feature Complete – at the end of Q1 2023 and are now charging toward our Aurora Driver Ready milestone at the end of this year. When we achieve Aurora Driver Ready, we’ll have confidence that the Aurora Driver could safely haul freight between Dallas and Houston without a human behind the wheel, setting us up for our commercial launch next year.

Sharing a transparent, concrete timeline and executing against it, builds our confidence internally, and with our investors and other stakeholders.

Strategic and differentiated bets

From day one, we’ve made a series of strategic decisions and investments to bring a safe product to market quickly.

  • We focus on what we do best and work with others, which has allowed us to build an incredible ecosystem of world-class partners. 
    • Volvo Trucks, PACCAR, and Toyota have the expertise and capacity to build us safe, driverless vehicles at scale. 
    • Continental has the domain knowledge to build the Aurora Driver hardware in our unprecedented hardware-as-a-service partnership. 
    • Market-leading pilot customers, including FedEx, Uber Freight, Werner, Schneider, and Hirschbach have the vision, network, and business demand to test and incorporate autonomous trucks to grow their businesses.

  • We’re investing in innovative technology.
    • Seeing far enough down the road to drive safely is a challenge for trucks. We’ve invested in a unique long-range lidar solution with unparalleled range to allow the Aurora Driver to operate at highway speeds. And now, we expect to have a full prototype of FirstLight lidar on chips by the end of the year, meaning we have a path to deliver it at scale.
    • We prioritized the development of a proprietary, scalable Virtual Testing Suite. We continue to accelerate our development and validation through simulation in virtual environments, testing at a scale and cost we couldn’t achieve in the physical world.

Depth and breadth of talent

Aurora has built a team of exceptional talent from the executive level to our interns.  Our team has an incredible depth of experience as we’ve showcased in our Voices of Aurora series.

Relentless focus on our mission

Remaining an independent or standalone company – unlike many of our peers – gives us the operational freedom to focus on our mission, and not be redirected or distracted by competing business priorities. This has positioned us to advance quickly toward product deployment, while others unfortunately waver. 

This capital raise represents a tremendous endorsement and the market’s faith in Aurora’s ability to deliver. Our position continues to strengthen as we execute and build our coalition of partners.


It’s an incredible time at Aurora. If you’re looking to join the ride of a lifetime,
we’re hiring. Also, if you’d like to hear more about my personal journey, why I founded Aurora, and basically, what gets me out of bed each morning, check out my recent interviews with Guy Raz and Kara Swisher. 


Chris Urmson

CEO and co-founder at Aurora