Apr 5, 2017

Google's former self-driving car guru raises cash for his own startup

James Duncan Davidson / TED

Aurora Innovation, the stealth startup founded by the former CTO of Alphabet's self-driving car project, has raised over $3 million in venture capital funding, according to an SEC filing.

The team: Along with CEO Chris Urmson, who left Alphabet last year, the startup also boasts Sterling Anderson, who previously oversaw Tesla's Autopilot software. The company has also hired several of Uber's self-driving car engineers in Pittsburgh (many of which Uber lured away from Carnegie Mellon a couple of years ago), as well as engineers who have worked at Tesla, Nvidia, and Google. Many of them self-identify on LinkedIn as working for "Stealthy McStartup."

Tesla tangle: About a month before Alphabet's self-driving car unit sued Uber, alleging trade secret theft and breach of non-poaching agreement, Tesla Motors filed an eerily similar lawsuit against Aurora and Anderson. In the complaint, Tesla says that Anderson downloaded and kept proprietary company files to his personal computer, attempted to poach Tesla employees (only two accepted), and even worked on Aurora with Urmson while still employed by Tesla.

The company: Aurora will develop a "full package" of software, hardware, and data to sell to automakers who want to build their own autonomous cars, according to Recode, which first reported on Urmson's new project.

The financing: The company raised just over $3.1 million last month. Allen & Company managing director Ian Smith is listed as member of Aurora's board, likely a sign that his firm invested. No other backers were disclosed, although it's likely that Aurora plans to soon raise a larger institutional round.

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Top Trump ally sounds 2020 election alarm over coronavirus response

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

There is growing concern among top conservative leaders that the Trump administration isn't addressing the long-term economic impact of the coronavirus, several sources tell Axios. One top adviser said if the recovery is bungled it could cost President Trump the election.

What we're hearing: "The next 4-8 weeks is really going to decide whether Trump gets reelected," Stephen Moore, Trump's former nominee for the Federal Reserve board, told Axios. If the administration mishandles its economic recovery efforts, he said, Trump is "in big trouble."

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,600,427 — Total deaths: 95,506 — Total recoveries: 354,006Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 465,329 — Total deaths: 16,513 — Total recoveries: 25,410Map.
  3. Public health latest: U.S. has expelled thousands of migrants under a CDC public health orderDr. Anthony Fauci said social distancing could reduce the U.S. death toll to 60,000.
  4. Business latest: The Fed will lend up to $2.3 trillion for businesses, state and city governments — After another 6.6 million jobless claims, here's how to understand the scale of American job decimation.
  5. 2020 latest: Top conservative leaders are concerned the Trump administration isn't addressing the virus' long-term economic impact.
  6. States latest: FEMA has asked governors to decide if they want testing sites to be under state or federal control.
  7. World latest: Lockdowns have led to a decline in murders in some of the world's most violent countries — Boris Johnson is moved out of the ICU but remains in hospital with coronavirus.
  8. In Congress: Senate in stalemate over additional funding for small business relief program.
  9. 1 SNL thing: "Saturday Night Live" will return this weekend in a remotely produced episode.
  10. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredPets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  11. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Federal court temporarily blocks coronavirus order against some abortions

Gov. Greg Abbott. Photo: Tom Fox-Pool/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled Thursday that clinics in Texas can immediately offer medication abortions — a pregnancy termination method administered by pill — and can also provide the procedure to patients nearing the state's time limits for abortions.

Driving the news: The decision comes after federal appeals court ruled 2-1 on Tuesday in favor of an executive order by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott that prohibits abortions during the coronavirus outbreak.

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