Autonomous vehicle start-up Aurora names Pittsburgh as site of its corporate HQ | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Autonomous vehicle start-up Aurora names Pittsburgh as site of its corporate HQ

click to enlarge Autonomous vehicle start-up Aurora names Pittsburgh as site of its corporate HQ
Image: by Studio 97
Rendering of Aurora’s new office space located in Pittsburgh’s Strip District
Aurora, the autonomous vehicle startup founded by ex-Google, Uber, and Tesla executives, announced on Sept. 9 that it has named Pittsburgh as the site of its official corporate headquarters.

“With its incredible universities and focus on innovation, Pittsburgh has been home to Aurora since we were founded and we’re committed to continued growth right here in this community,” Aurora’s vice president of government relations, Gerardo Interiano, said in a statement.

The majority of its 1,600 employees will work in Aurora’s facility in Pittsburgh’s Strip District, the company said.

Aurora added space in Pittsburgh last year after it acquired Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group in December 2020. That acquisition included a vehicle test track in the city’s Hazelwood Green development.

Aurora was the first autonomous vehicle company to be authorized by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to test its vehicles on public roads. It began testing autonomous vehicles on Pittsburgh’s public streets in 2017.

In addition, Aurora is making a $65,000 donation to fund STEM-related requests from Allegheny County teachers on donations website DonorsChoose, to “help fund the city’s next generations of technologists and roboticists,” Interiano added.

The donation will help fund a variety of STEM-related projects, including helping third graders get supplies for building volcanoes, buying a color printer for a fifth-grade classroom, as well as supplies including a digital microscope, science experiment books and an incubator for hatching chicken eggs.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said Aurora had been an “outstanding partner” to the city, and was a “critical partner of our growing autonomous vehicle economy.”

Pittsburgh has become something of an autonomous vehicle hub; with Carnegie Mellon University supplying talent, Aurora, Argo AI and Uber all set up shop in the city in the past several years. With Aurora acquiring Uber’s ATG unit, the company was valued at $10 billion.

Pittsburgh is where Aurora first drove its autonomous cars on a test track; its autonomous vehicles have traveled through the city’s tunnels, and experienced a Pittsburgh winter, driving in snow for the first time on the city’s streets.

“Aurora has called Pittsburgh and Allegheny County home for quite some time, but now it’s official,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “We are delighted that Aurora has made this decision and welcome the opportunity to continue partnering and working with the company as it builds on the innovation for which it is known.”

Aurora also has locations in the California Bay Area, Texas, Montana, Seattle, Colorado, and Michigan.

The company, which has been developing self-driving technology for passenger vehicles as well as trucks, says it plans to add more people to its Pittsburgh workforce, including software and hardware engineers, vehicle operators, and more.

“Aurora joins a growing group of Pittsburgh companies that are working to solve some of the world’s most complex challenges right here in southwestern Pennsylvania,” said Audrey Russo, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council. “Even as they rapidly grow their team in Pittsburgh, Aurora is investing in the future of our region by working hand-in-hand with local schools and educators,”

Correspondent Kim Lyons covers Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania for the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, where this story first appeared. Follow her on Twitter, @SocialKimLy.