The last time we talked about Google’s former self-driving car head Chris Urmson was back in the summer of 2016, and since then, he has gone on to found a stealth (also self-driving-related) startup by the name of Aurora Innovation. Now, SEC filings (via Axios) reveal that the startup has raised over $3 million in venture capital…
Urmson isn’t the only notable self-driving car staffer that Alphabet has lost over the last year. In fact, two other key software engineers left around the same time. Others have departed since the transition to Waymo, to companies like Uber, Tesla, and Urmson’s startup.
A report from February said that many of these employees left because they were being paid too much. An unusual payment system in place allowed early employees to receive scaling pay based on the growth and success of the project, which caused many to no longer need the job security. Urmson, who served as the company’s CTO, almost certainly fell into this category.
Now, Aurora Innovation is made up Urmson himself, Sterling Anderson (who was previously in charge of Tesla’s Autopilot), as well as engineers from Uber, Google, and other companies. Previous reports have said that the team is working on a full stack of hardware and software that can be purchased by car manufacturers hoping to add self-driving capabilities to their vehicles.
In December, Google’s self-driving car unit spun out as its own company under Alphabet. Not long after, the company unveiled the design of the first self-driving Chrysler Pacifica. In February, Waymo filed a lawsuit against Uber, claiming it stole key self-driving technology.