BREAKING NEWS CAL FIRE determines cause of 2 Shasta County fires to be arson Full Story
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Volkswagen and Hyundai get serious about self-driving car tech

Two of the world's largest automakers have struck deals with a high-profile Silicon Valley startup to develop autonom...

Posted: Jan 4, 2018 11:14 AM
Updated: Jan 4, 2018 11:14 AM

Two of the world's largest automakers have struck deals with a high-profile Silicon Valley startup to develop autonomous vehicles.

The Volkswagen Group and Hyundai announced on Thursday partnerships with Aurora Innovation, a manufacturer of self-driving car technology.

The efforts buck the trend of automakers being cautious to work with Silicon Valley companies. Volkswagen and Hyundai have turned to Aurora to accelerate how fast the technology appears on roads.

Hyundai said it will use the Aurora technology in a fuel cell SUV, which it believes is best suited for autonomous driving, given the vehicle's driving range.

Volkswagen plans to use Aurora's self-driving technology in a variety of vehicles, such as shuttles, vans, pods and trucks. It also anticipates operating a ride-sharing service in cities.

Both Volkswagen and Hyundai expect their self-driving vehicles to launch in 2021.

Founded in late 2016, Aurora has attracted the attention of the auto industry. It builds the complicated systems required to control self-driving cars, which must understand their surroundings and make smart decisions.

Its co-founders are some of the biggest names in the industry, having led self-driving efforts at Google and Tesla.

"Our mission is to get this technology deployed as quickly, as safely and as broadly as possible," CEO Chris Urmson told CNN Tech.

One big question in the self-driving car world is how to split profits between the old guard - traditional automakers - and new entrants, such as Aurora.

Related: Your car's data may be more valuable than the car itself

While exact details haven't been hammered out, all parties said they're confident they can make a fair split.

"We're approaching the problem from an abundance mindset," Aurora chief product officer Sterling Anderson told CNN Tech. "If we can work together to make this difference, all involved will prosper. This will be only a net positive for the world, and a net positive for Aurora and our partners."

An Intel study released in 2017 predicted the industry will be worth $7 trillion by 2050.

Each year, 1.25 million people are killed in motor vehicle crashes globally. These deaths are overwhelmingly caused by human error. Removing human drivers could bring huge safety benefits.

While Volkswagen and Hyundai are competitors, the automakers said Aurora's move to work with multiple companies will boost its technology and ultimately, speed the arrival of safe autonomous vehicles.

"Solving [the challenges associated with] self-driving technology is going to bring many benefits to society -- not just for convenience, but safety," said Jang Woong-jun, who leads autonomy efforts at Hyundai. "I don't think there's one company that can develop everything on their own."

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 910438

Reported Deaths: 17386
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles3006147000
Riverside667321295
San Bernardino627741072
Orange587251447
San Diego54941870
Kern33881416
Fresno30858436
Sacramento25445484
Santa Clara24313388
Alameda23391461
San Joaquin21630489
Contra Costa18694242
Stanislaus17686397
Tulare17495286
Ventura14300164
Imperial12882336
San Francisco12152140
Monterey1139991
San Mateo11149159
Santa Barbara9814120
Merced9465155
Sonoma9402136
Kings824683
Solano738476
Marin7089128
Madera502074
Placer417857
San Luis Obispo414132
Yolo320759
Butte308752
Santa Cruz280225
Napa196215
Shasta188930
Sutter183712
San Benito144215
El Dorado13284
Yuba129310
Mendocino112921
Tehama8808
Lassen7661
Lake69515
Glenn6573
Nevada6168
Humboldt56710
Colusa5506
Calaveras34218
Amador33016
Tuolumne2714
Inyo22715
Siskiyou1930
Mono1802
Del Norte1781
Mariposa782
Plumas680
Modoc290
Trinity260
Sierra60
Alpine30
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 84°
Oroville
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 84°
Paradise
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 84°
Chester
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 65°
Red Bluff
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 86°
Willows
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 84°
Gusty winds and very dry conditions are continuing to result in a Red Flag Warning for high fire danger today. Temperatures will also be much warmer this afternoon. Dry and mild weather returns on Wednesday and continues through this weekend.
KHSL Severe
KHSL Radar
KHSL Temperatures

Community Events