Auro Robotics Secures $2M to Deploy Autonomous Campus Shuttle Service

SCU will be the beta test site for autonomous shuttles - the company is called Auro Robotics, a company based out of Sunnyvale, California. (Photo credit: Joanne H. Lee/Santa Clara University)

Santa Clara University will be the beta test site for autonomous shuttles (Photo credit: Joanne H. Lee/Santa Clara University)

Self-driving shuttle provider to roll out with major university later this year

SAN FRANCISCO- April 25, 2016—Auro Robotics, an autonomous campus shuttle service, today announced it has secured $2 million in a funding round led by Motus Ventures, an investment firm dedicated to accelerating the autonomous future, and supported by Rothenberg Ventures. Auro Robotics will use the funding to roll out autonomous campus shuttle services at a major American university later this year, marking one of the most advanced deployments of self-driving cars to date.

“Private campuses are an ideal springboard toward a world of fully automated vehicles,” said Jim DiSanto, managing partner at Motus Ventures. “Operating at lower speeds, free of complex government regulations, with the right technologies we can go completely driverless today versus the end of the decade, as projected for public transportation. We’ve seen strong demand for around-the-clock autonomous shuttle services on college and corporate campuses, military bases and retirement communities, and Auro Robotics is in a strong position to lead the way in unlocking the market.”

Auro Robotics provides a complete technology system, including proprietary software specific to the unique needs of the private campus environment, to ensure safe and reliable autonomous transportation that promises to reduce parking congestion, facilitate mobility, improve campus security and reduce operating costs up to 60 percent. The platform combines vehicles and a software platform to overcome challenges of maneuvering safely among erratic traffic flow, heavy crowds, bad weather and imprecise GPS. The company currently operates a pilot service at Santa Clara University where it safely transports students and faculty anywhere and anytime on campus.

“The time is now for self-driving shuttles,” said Nalin Gupta, CEO of Auro Robotics. “Motus Ventures provides us with unparalleled industry expertise and connections to help us scale autonomy in the automotive market right away. With their help, we will apply ongoing technology advancements to bring the extensive benefits of self-driving transportation to many more campuses and beyond.”

The Auro Robotics system includes a suite of technologies encompassing all aspects of campus autonomous driving. Auro Robotics equips all-electric vehicles with a multi-sensor system for detecting ground-level obstacles. Software includes three-dimensional map creation and real-time localization, as well as advanced motion-planning software and a smart vehicle-pedestrian interaction system. The company also provides a mobile application tuned for on-demand shuttle scheduling and tracking, as well as cloud-based fleet management and scheduling software.

About Motus Ventures

Motus Ventures was founded three years ago to accelerate the autonomous future. Motus brings extensive industry expertise to help entrepreneurs commercialize and scale technologies that transform transportation, industrial, health and food systems. Notable investments include Quanergy, a developer of low-cost solid-state LiDAR systems essential for autonomous vehicles. For more, please visit motusventures.com

About Auro Robotics

Founded by graduates of CMU’s Robotics Institute, and the IIT Kharagpur Robotics Research Group, and Y-Combinator, Nalin Gupta, Jit Ray Chowdhury and Srinivas Reddy launched Auro Robotics to apply their work on self-driving shuttles to the campus market. To learn more, please visit www.Aurobots.com

Rothenberg Ventures

Rothenberg Ventures is a seed stage VC firm that invests in frontier technology.  CB insights recently recognized us as their #1 frontier technology investor as well as  #1 in VR/AR investing.  Pitchbook named RV the most active VR investors ahead of Google, A16Z, Intel, etc.  They launched a program called River within their fund dedicated to the fastest growing frontier technology startups (AR, VR, artificial intelligence, drones, robotics, space, and 3D printing).