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Driverless Technology Startup Aurora Poised To Go Public Through SPAC Merger

Aurora - Truck Pacifica.jpg
Courtesy of Aurora Innovation, Inc.

Strip District-based driverless technology company Aurora announced it is going public through a merger with Reinvent Technology Partners Y, a blank-check firm founded by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Zynga Inc. founder Mark Pincus.

“By combining with Reinvent and with this incredible group of investors, we are even closer to deploying self-driving vehicles and delivering the benefits this technology offers the world,” said Chris Urmson, co-founder and CEO of Aurora.

The merger will allow Aurora to fund the commercialization of its self-driving technology by accelerating testing, development and hiring efforts. The company expects to launch its first autonomous product, a self-driving truck, at the end of 2023.

The combined company will be valued at $13 billion, according to a statement released Thursday. Reinvent, a special purpose acquisition company, was created to raise capital through an initial public offering to acquire or merge with an existing company. It’s the third such company formed by Hoffman and Pincus.

“We believe Aurora will be the first to commercialize self-driving technology at scale for the U.S. trucking and passenger transportation markets based on its industry-leading team, technology and partnerships,” Mark Pincus said about the merger.

The combined company will be called Aurora Innovation Inc. and listed on Nasdaq with the ticker symbol AUR. Aurora currently has 1,600 employees.

The company tests vehicles in Pittsburgh, Dallas and the Bay Area.

It’s been a busy year for Aurora. The company acquired Uber’s self-driving unit in January. Then it announced partnerships with PACCAR and Volvo to develop autonomous commercial trucks. The company is also partnering with Toyota to develop a fleet of self-driving taxis.

Argo AI, another self-driving startup based in Pittsburgh’s Strip District valued at $7 billion, is also preparing to go public this year.