Driverless cars

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Amazon moves into driverless cars

Aurora tech on a car
Reuters

A self-driving car technology start-up founded by former Google, Tesla and Uber executives says it has secured $530m in new funding that included a "significant" investment from Amazon.

The funding round for Aurora Innovation led by Silicon Valley venture capital powerhouse Sequoia reportedly valued the start-up launched just two years ago at more than $2.5bn.

"We are always looking to invest in innovative, customer-obsessed companies, and Aurora is just that," Amazon told the AFP news agency.

"Autonomous technology has the potential to help make the jobs of our employees and partners safer and more productive, whether it's in a fulfillment centre or on the road, and we're excited about the possibilities," Amazon said.

Aurora is developing the technology for autonomous vehicles, but leaving the making of cars to other companies and said in a blog post it wants to work alongside, rather than compete with, leading automakers.

Stratosphere tower Las Vegas

Zoe Kleinman

Technology reporter, BBC News

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Do you understand autonomous cars?

So we talk about self-driving cars quite frequently, but what isn't always clear to the public is the fact that there are five distinct levels that the car industry are looking at.

To get from the regular cars we have today, to completely autonomous cars, a lot of technical innovation will be needed.

Axa has made a video to try to explain what those levels are...

View more on youtube

Self-driving car tests to expand in £19m scheme

More roads in the West Midlands - including motorways and rural routes - could be used to test driverless cars under a £19m scheme based out of the University of Warwick.

The project, led by Warwick Manufacturing Group, includes £11m of government funding and some of the money will be used to install roadside equipment to help tests.

CAV test simulator
University of Warwick

The Meridan 3 project, under the Midlands Future Mobility consortium, will allow driverless cars, developed using simulation and test tracks, to then be evaluated on roads in real-world driving situations.

Tests are already being carried out on about 50 miles of roads in Coventry, Birmingham and Solihull - the new project will extend that to include more rural and motorway routes across the region.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said self-driving cars would "revolutionise the way we move goods and people around the UK," and projects like this will help the government's ambition to have autonomous vehicles on the roads by 2021.