A partnership between Volkswagen and self-driving vehicle startup Aurora has ended, according to report by the Financial Times, citing three people familiar with the matter.
A spokesperson from VW confirmed the news, counting TechCrunch that “activities in our partnership have been concluded.” VW did not provide any further details.
Aurora didn’t provide any details either, accept to say VW Group has been a "wonderful partner" since its early days of development of its self-driving vehicle stack dubbed the Aurora Driver.
Aurora, a nearly three-year-old startup that has raised $ 530 million, develops and supplies the full-stack solution for self-driving vehicles. It has existing partnerships with Hyundai, Byton and more recently Fiat Chrysler Automobiles as well as several other unnamed companies, which it alluded to in its statement.
"As the driver matures and our platform grows in strength, we continue to work with a growing array of partners who complement our expertise and expand the reach of our product," Aurora said in a statement.
The partnership was not contentious and the initial agreement ended on good terms, two sources familiar with the deal between Aurora and VW customs TechCrunch. One source inferred to two conversations between companies without providing any details.
In the end, what started out as a collaboration, ended up as misalignment in wants and needs.
The two companies had already been working together for six months before their joint January 201
When the partnership was finally announced, VW said the two companies were going to bring self-driving electric vehicles to cities as well as Mobility-as-a-service fleets. It was an important early endorsement for Aurora and it showed VW was striking out beyond the confines of its massive company seeking out the latest innovations.
The plan was for Volkswagen to deploy autonomous test vehicles developed with Aurora on public roads. Johann Jungwirth, VW's chief digital officer at the time and a key connection between the two companies, said the number of test vehicles was going to grow to "triple digits" in 2019, and "four digits" in 2020, before going into production in 2021. Ultimately, the self-driving system could be integrated across VW Group's many brands, including Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Audi, Bentley, Skoda, and Porsche. VW was going through its own internal changes when Herbert Diess took the CEO spot. And it appeared, based on insiders, that VW wanted more control over its autonomous vehicle program and possibly even ownership. Bloomberg reported in August 2018 that VW, in the hunt for autonomous vehicle technology, had tried to buy Aurora. The startup declined the offer for a desire to stay independent, according to the report