VW, Autonomous Company Partner for Mobility-as-a-Service Fleets

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Jan. 4, 2017—Chris Urmson, formerly the head of Google’s self-driving initiative, has announced that his new company, Aurora, has signed partnerships with Volkswagen and Hyundai. The new partnership is aimed at helping both manufacturers speed up their autonomous car research, as reported by USA Today.

Volkswagen says the collaboration brings the two companies together to bring self-driving vehicles to cities as Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) fleets.

“Our mission is to get this tech out quickly, safely, and broadly,” noted Urmson, who left Google’s program, now known as Waymo, in 2016. “Only when you bring this technology to market at scale will you see big safety and economic benefits. Aurora is targeting that initiative.”

VW announced last year that it plans to roll out a self-driving vehicle model by 2021. Such Levels 4 and 5 autonomous vehicles are able to drive themselves in virtually all conditions without driver input.

Although some significant hurdles remain before autonomous vehicles can garner widestream acceptance—such as governmental regulations, and, of course, consumer confidence—most stakeholders are predicting consumer-ready autonomous vehicles will arrive on a much larger level in the next two or three years.

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