Startups

Check out these pictures of Aurora’s new Strip District HQ

After announcing Pittsburgh as its full corporate headquarters last year, the autonomous vehicle company finally unveiled its new local offices.

Aurora unveils its new Pittsburgh headquarters.

(Courtesy photo)

As some remote work policies have started to come to an end, a leading local tech firm doubles down on its physical presence.

Autonomous vehicle company Aurora announced that Pittsburgh would become the company’s full corporate headquarters last fall — and last week, it opened new local offices to reflect that change. Previously, Aurora had dual headquarters between Pittsburgh and its Mountain View, California offices.

The self-driving firm went public through a SPAC deal in November last year, shortly after making the HQ announcement. Since that launch, however, its stock is down almost 60% as of this writing, falling from an initial share price of $11.25 to $4.70. Discounting Waymo, which has been public since its launch as a subsidiary of Alphabet, Aurora is the only public autonomous vehicle company in Pittsburgh. The rest have yet to announce plans, though Argo AI hinted last year that it would look to make its own public offering in 2022.

The new offices are a sign that Aurora has plans to continue investing in Pittsburgh into the future, and that any employees who aren’t already back in the office for the company will now have a new space to do so. In total, Aurora now has over 100,000 square feet of space at the 1600 Smallman St. development in the Strip District, owned by McCaffery Interests.

In attendance at the grand opening of the new space last week was Gov. Tom Wolf and several other public officials. Beyond recognizing Aurora’s progress in strengthening the Pittsburgh tech economy since its founding in 2016, Wolf looked ahead to remaining political challenges for the company, which is hoping to launch driverless test vehicles in Pennsylvania soon.

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Other states have already passed legislation to allow for those tests, and autonomous vehicle industry leaders in Pittsburgh have been vocal about the need for Pennsylvania to catch up. As for when exactly that might happen, “My hope is sometime soon,” Wolf told the Pittsburgh Business Journal. “I’m optimistic that it will get to my desk soon and I’ll sign it. … The idea is that we want to make sure that people are safe and that these vehicles are safe, safe to have them on our roads and streets.”

Aurora has already launched major pilot programs for its autonomous driving platform, the Aurora Driver, for trucks in Texas. It plans to commercially launch that trucking as a service program — dubbed the Aurora Horizon — by the end of 2023, and a similar commercial ride-hailing service, the Aurora Connect, at some point in 2024.

The company’s new space in Pittsburgh will help employees do the work it’ll take to get there. Check out pictures of the new office in the media gallery below.

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Sophie Burkholder is a 2021-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Heinz Endowments.
Companies: Aurora
People: Tom Wolf
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