What is Aurora? Self Driving Technology SPAC Stock $RTPY

1h 3m | Oct 29, 2021

Episode Summary:

On Today Show Chris & Money Mitch get into Aurora or Self Driving Technology.


Chris Urmson, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Aurora


Mitch Hoch


Chris Katje


For FASTER NEWS and IN-DEPTH market data, check out Benzinga Pro. For a free two-week trial go to

  • Listen to SPACs Attack Archive here

  • Subscribe to all Benzinga Podcasts here

  • Sign up for the SPACs Attacks Newsletter here

Disclaimer: All of the information, material, and/or content contained in this program is for informational purposes only. Investing in stocks, options, and futures is risky and not suitable for all investors. Please consult your own independent financial adviser before making any investment decisions.

Unedited Transcript:

Hey traders, who wants to paint some candles with me? I'm ready to get into the fact game, bro. One thing I'll tell you what color is here, green baby. We're going green in the stack land. Let's go ahead and start. Don't miss your free chance to tune into bending his very own bootcamp series on November 20th.

If you're looking to dive into new concepts and grow your account, this one's for you. How's my little trees doing. Let me bring in the best tree. I have grown my man. Chris hope PTO. What's going on, Bob? Uh, yeah, uh, we, we been gone the last two days. Um, so it's always exciting right? To come back. Cause there's so much to talk about so much news.

We've got an interesting company today for our interview that I really want to hear more about. Um, it's Friday. Which as you guys know, if you've watched the show Fridays are more casual day, right? So we'll hopefully get to some ticker time later on in the show. Um, so setback and, you know, relax. It's uh, it's SPACs attack time.

All right. Now I have been having some mic issues today, so I will ask the chat. Do you guys hear me? Like, okay. I did see someone mentioned, I might have to come back. I've had to restart my computer multiple times today. I don't know what's going on. So you guys hear me with the deep voice? Let me know.

Cause I will have to restart and leave Chris here. Um, but let's go ahead. Let's get started. Let's pull the Bob Ross off our a, I want to keep the, the Afro going here. I like the fro, but the beard has got to go. All right. I'll keep the frog on though. How's that looking? Good. Looking good. What can I say, guys, let's get this party started.

Let's go ahead. Let's get into some headlines, a lot of specs moving out there. I have some of my own that I've been watching and Hey, if you don't believe the specs are back we'll, uh, I mean, you probably haven't been watching these moves lately, so let's go ahead. Let's get into those headlines, Chris, please inform us because all this hair is getting to my head and I just don't know what's going on out there.

So that's why I come to my man to let us know, take us back to the headlines.

All right guys. Yeah, a lot to get to on headlines today. Uh, up first we have M O T N. So this is motion acquisition. So the company is merging with doc go. They reported that they secured new contracts today. No terms were disclosed, but again, this company continues to expand, uh, earlier this week, uh, they reported third quarter revenue of $81 million, which was up 200% year over year.

They also said that they're rolling out a series of major initiatives and joint partnerships. And they see revenue hitting $260 million for fiscal 2021. So if you didn't know, dot go is like an, a used to be called ambulance with a Z. It is a, you know, on demand, uh, medical service company, they operate in 26, us markets and the United Kingdom.

They have license application pending and an additional 14 states have 26 plus 14 would bring them up to 40 states covering, you know, the majority of the U S states. So M O T N definitely one to watch here and then turning to a more earnings. We have better where to Mexico, uh, B w M X company reported third quarter earnings today.

So, uh, revenue was up 4% year over year. They did say that they had several headwinds in the quarter. Um, but that they're progressing, uh, you know, forward and they actually have some exciting. I don't want to talk too much about this company today. Cause actually better where to Mexico we'll be joining power hour today.

Coming up after this show for an interview, if you remember, they were on our show a couple months ago, they will be talking all about that third quarter earnings report. And then also about, you know, some new company initiatives moving forward. Remember that this is one of the better performing specs of the last year prior to today's dip.

They also pay out a dividend. So EWM acts definitely one to watch. Then we have wall box WB X to wall box, which was one of the high flyers. Earlier this week. They announced that they will provide a business update on Thursday, November 4th. I'm going to talk a little bit about the calendar later, some specs to watch next week, but keep that on your radar wall box, an update next week, electric vehicle charging company that has been hot all week.

And then speaking of electric vehicle stocks that have been hot, we have lucid El CID, which will of course, take a look at when we cover our watch list. This is the number one trending stock on StockTwits today. It has started getting mentioned heavily on wall street bats. So the company will have their first deliveries tomorrow of the lucid air, October 30th.

There was also news that Saudi Arabia is considering a manufacturing facility. Shouldn't come as a big surprise since that country's investment fund is a big investor in lucid. And then also they announced that they will report third quarter earnings on Monday, November 15th. So less than two weeks after that first delivery, we will get earnings from lucid.

So I expect to hear lots of updates on how reservations and deliveries are going. So definitely something to why. Yesterday, we had the presentation from Facebook, Facebook connect, talking about augmented reality, virtual reality. And of course, if you did not hear yet, the company changed its name, uh, to, um, Metta, right?

New ticker will be M V R S. Metta is the new company. So yesterday, uh, we saw lots of AR and VR names. Get a jump on the news from Facebook. And one of those companies that got a little bit of a lift yesterday, but it's starting to take off today is Matterport. So Matterport was on our show a couple months ago.

Um, we actually got some exclusive headlines for our Benzing of pro users. Again, if you're not using Benzinga pro you are missing out for a free trial. Those headlines, we had out the smart. The company said, I like to think that by digitizing the built world, Matterport is creating the metaverse.

So there you have the metaverse connection. They also said that their models are optimized for Facebook's Oculus quest using virtual reality mode in the Matterport platform. Um, and then they also highlighted that they announced a collaboration with Facebook earlier this year. So the company saying our collaboration with Facebook is with their AI research in or organization.

Um, so again, Matterport MTTR could be applied here on AR VR and the Facebook name change. I'm seeing shares up 10% today now. Um, so definitely keep this one on, watch the other, uh, related spec to Facebook's news yesterday. Was M P a C um, shares had over $11 and a short lift warrants were up triple digits.

Shares were actually halted. So NPAC is bringing multi metaverse public. Um, this is a small company and I will note that there is not a lot known about multi metaverse. No presentation came out with this spec deal. Um, but this was the only metaverse name that popped up in a search of specs. So keep that in mind.

And we have MP materials. MP. I talked about this earlier this week, right. Company was targeted with a short report and MPS response. They said that they report third quarter earnings after close on November 4th, and look forward to updating all of their shareholders on the state of their business and industry.

So again, I'll hit on next week's events later on, but MP definitely on watch. They have that earnings next week, they're going to have their rebuttal to the short report. Um, and I also want to know, uh, that with that short report, I actually saw on Twitter, several, uh, Twitter users shared the short report with the hashtag ad as in grizzly research, actually paid, um, to promote that short report on Twitter with some, uh, uh, fin Twitter users.

So that's an interesting tactic. Um, so something to keep in mind with MP and then turning it over. Um, C M J, which is merging with Leafly. Uh, they voted this morning to approve the extension. So MC M J shares were also trading higher today on that news. Um, we're up about 4%. This one's gotten a lot of attention this week, uh, going from 10 to close to or over 11, I believe.

Um, you know, to keep this one in mind, uh, we talked about this one at the cannabis conference, right? This is a cannabis play, a thing behind the thing for the cannabis industry. Then MCA D approved their merger with better therapeutics will trade us BTT X today. Uh, T M T S approved their merger with next NAB, new ticker and end today, this would be the, a high redemption, low float one to watch as 17.4 million shares were redeemed 87% of the shares.

Um, so keep an eye on and, and new ticker today, and TDAC was approved their merger with the new ticker LTR. Why next week, this is one I've called out a lot, right? It's a low floater already. And also have to know 20,900 shares were redeemed despite shares trading over $14. So someone missed out on some big profits in this, by not understanding the redemption process of a SPAC.

Then we got a couple of votes for. On, uh, November 8th with P three health partners, uh, DDI max on November 18th with code air and T H M a on November 23rd with pear therapeutics and then turning to our one deal. This one was announced last night, after market closed TWN T uh, satellite company to ran orbital is going public valued at $1.58 billion.

Pipe includes an investment from Lockheed Martin. That's always a key here on the space and satellite place. So Taran is a leader in small satellites. They're a key supplier for the military intelligence community, the community and civil and commercial customers. They said that they're the largest independently owned manufacturer of small satellites in the U S they plan to launch one of the most advanced earth observation, constellation of small steps.

They announced a 300 million, 600,000 square foot manufacturing facility on the space coast of Florida. Um, that announcement came last month. It will make them the largest vertically integrated satellite manufacturing facility in the world capable of producing over 1000 satellites and space vehicles annually.

So they plan to enter the SAS business model and not software as a service, but satellites as a service. So TWN T is the ticker shares up 1% right now to 10 0 1. That was the spec deal announced this morning. That's what I've got for headlines. I know that was a, a lot to get to there again with the last two days off from the show.

Uh, uh, what do you think Mitch? I should be back in a sounding good sounding. Uh, at least, at least it seems like everything's back. I did the restart. We're good. We're ready to go. I'm super excited. I've been seeing a lot of these specs moving. It's not only lucid. A lot of these have been moving and there's, there's a lot they're going towards that 11 and $12.

And when you think about it from underneath 10, that's a pretty good return, right? I mean, 20, 30% on just about any investment, it's not going to be a bad investment. Um, what are you seeing out there? Spencer's joining us. I'm just joined. Just to say that, Mitch, yet you sound a little bit weird, but I'm here for it.

I still sound weird. Good on my end, but really? Yeah, it sounds like Darth Vader. So maybe it's, I don't know. I don't know what's going on with Mitch's mind. I just wanted to come in and tell you that man. It's like he said, like I'm here for it. It doesn't sound. Yeah, but I guess a $300 setup doesn't want to work.

Maybe it just a little bit deeper than normal. I I'm I'm okay with it. I'm here for, I said roll with it. I like it. I mean, it seems like everything doesn't want to work for me right now because I just got signed out of Google is getting hacked or something. Good job. Good show that Chris yeah. Was a lot of, of headlines.

You jammed it in there. Uh, cause you got to get to, are your guests obviously? So, so nice job, man. Thank you. I will, it looks like I'm going to leave Chris here. Uh, Chris, if you want, you can kind of hold it down for a second here. I gotta restart again, trying to fix this audio. I don't know what's going on with my audio here.

Uh, sounded like a little Darth Vader, but Hey, I guess that's the Halloween thing there, but, uh, it goes with the hair they say out there, uh, Bob, the Bob Ross hair today, but yeah, Mitch, I mean, I let's get started on the interview. Um, you know, and then we can have you, you know, join back up. So, uh, it might seem smart there at least, at least I think my audio for my computer will sound good.

Uh, so let's first do this. I wanted to put on a video for us here, so let's, let's do that. I'm gonna share system audio here. Let's check out a little bit about Aurora first so we can learn a little bit more about it. Then we'll take a deeper look and Chris we'll nail down this interview.

Speaking from my own experience, Aurora has the best team of engineers. I've had the pleasure to work with. Many of us have prior experience in self-driving and I've shipped some of the most advanced automotive systems on the road today. We've also architected high performance, consumer electronics and develop cutting edge robotic systems.

All of that experience really shows with how we work and how we develop our technology. We've collectively created a holistic and integrated approach to building the Aurora driver. And that approach has allowed us to build faster and smarter. This ability to build faster and smarter is what will propel us toward meeting our goal of having autonomous trucks on the road.

By the end of 2023, with autonomous passenger vehicles following closely behind by the end of 2020. At Aurora, our hardware is purpose built to meet the complexities of self-driving high precision self-driving software requires carefully crafted hardware to power synchronize and ingest the data from dozens of high bandwidth sensors.

This requires a deep understanding of the software architecture and its dependencies, and a close collaboration between experienced hardware designers and software engineers. We've built a deeply integrated hardware team that produces high-performing custom built products that are designed and tested.

In-house Aurora's hardware includes a custom computer and sensor suite. That's common across all of our vehicle platforms. It's includes trucks, light duty vans, and passenger cars with our hardware and software teams working closely together. We recently released an upgrade to our computer, which is powerful and elegant and has five times more processing power and additional redundancy for added safety.

Using our first principles approach with our deep industry expertise. The team leverages best in industry components that satisfy the Aurora driver needs so that we can focus on those developments and add value to the Rover driver. A great example of this is within our computer with our proprietary time sensitive network switch or TSN for short, the TSN is the backbone of our computer and stitches together.

All the sensors and peripheral devices into one common hub. The TSN uses an advanced networking chip and the unique combination of high bandwidth automotive physical layers that efficiently move data between our sensors, computer and vehicle TSM provides duplicate data packets, redundant pathways, and synchronizes our sensors down to the microsecond roars hardware team is uniquely skilled at product development.

And our business model allows us to be.

All right guys. Yeah. You just saw in that video, a very exciting company. We've got a Rora. So joining us on SPACs Ditech today we have Chris Urmson the CEO and co-founder of Aurora, that company going public via spec merger with reinvent technology partner, Y ticker, R T P Y. Chris welcome to SPACs attack.

How are you doing today? Doing great. How about you doing great. Uh, you know, it's always nice to meet a fellow Chris out there, so this will be a fun interview. Right? Chris interviewing Chris, uh, works for me. Awesome. Well, we've got so much to talk about, you know, this is a very exciting company. I think a lot of our viewers are familiar.

With this company out here, but before we dive into our Aurora, just wondering if you can give viewers a little bit of history about yourself and your experience in the self-driving space, I believe that you once worked for Google. So we'd love to hear more about your history. Yeah, sure. Thanks for asking.

So, um, I've been working in this space since about 2003 back then I was at Carnegie Mellon. I was part of the team, whereas the technic direct for the team that compete in the DARPA, urban and grand challenges. These were these robot races, the defense department put together. So we've the first two years we had a giant Humvees, a race and across the desert, the third year we had a Chevy Tahoe, uh, driving around an air base.

Uh, and so we ended up winning the, the urban challenge, which was the last of those events. Uh, then in 2009, Google asked me to come out and kickoff. What was then a super secret project with the self-driving car program? Um, I helped build that with, with an amazing group of people from, you know, the six of us who started it too.

And when I left, we had 600 something people and, you know, it's now Waymo and off doing whatever way most out they're doing. Um, then in 2016 I ended up leaving, um, spend some time figuring out what to do next and realized there was an opportunity to, uh, to build something special in this space. And that's what we've been doing with a roar for the last almost five years now.

Awesome. Yes. So turning to Aurora, you know, one of the first questions we always like to ask here on specs attack, since we ask all things, you know, specs D SPECT is why the decision to bring Aurora public bias back and was a traditional IPO also considered by your. Yeah, for us, it was a 51 kind of 49 decision to go spec versus IPO.

Um, and you know, for us, uh, we wanted to make sure that the, the, when we entered the public markets, we did that with something that looked like a high quality IPO. And so our first conversations were with the long-term growth investors. So, uh, that would come into the pipe. Uh, and we used that as a process to figure out what's the right market price, right?

And so we engaged with the T Rowe and Bailey and MSM and, uh, you know, the capitals and came to a price that we felt was, was fair for the market. And then we went and looked at, you know, the, the numerous inbound. Specs. We had to talk to us and looked at the list of what was available and, and cut that down to, you know, a handful that we went and went and met with.

And then we ended up going with RTP why? And we did that because we believed that we could align the long-term incentives that, um, you know, the there's, there's some of these facts that are out there where it feels like it's kind of a flip it and get rich quick kind of model. And what we wanted was a, a company.

They understood. This was a long-term build. This was something that's going to create a, you know, if we, if we execute well, it's going to create an immense amount of shareholder value. And so let's set up for that. And so that's what we found with the, the model of going to venture capitalist scale that the re-invent team has.

Perfect. Yeah. I mean, you hit on two key points there that I wanted to dive into. So up for some of the investors, right. That's something we always talk about here on the show. Um, you know, so you mentioned, you know, Baillie Gifford, um, we've got, uh, T Rowe price, the delegatee and then reinvent of course, with mark Pincus and Reed Hoffman.

And then we also have investments from Amazon, Uber, Volvo, and others. Can you just talk a little bit about, you know, what this means in terms of validation for your company to have these big names involved with the longterm. Well, that, that was it. Right. We wanted to help, like we were building a company to be here for the next century.

Right. And, uh, and so we wanted to make sure we had the right capital partners along the journey with us. So as I think about like, you know, who do you, who, who are really good, high quality long-term, uh, tech growth investors and, you know, uh, Baillie Gifford, uh, if you look at their track record, it's awesome.

Right. Um, uh, M SIM, uh, is awesome. Uh, Uh, fidelity, right? These are folks who want, you know, they do the deep work. They're able to commit the capital and hold it there for extended periods of time. And so those are the kind of anchor tenants we want, but then you, you're probably aware at the beginning of this year, we acquired Uber self-driving car business.

And so that's now part of Aurora and Uber could have, you know, could have, uh, partnered, uh, could have continue to invest in. It, could have, uh, sold that business to anyone. And the fact that this is a team that had, you know, a tremendous technical understanding of the problem space as a real long-term business need for this technology.

And they bet on us, right. That that was an incredibly fantastic validation for us. And then similarly, um, if you look at our automotive partners, uh, Toyota, uh, Volvo trucks, And pack our, which is the Peterbilt DAF and Kenworth brands of trucks, right? These are, these are incredible companies, right? That again, could have partnered with anyone could have invested in anyone and they've chose to invest with us.

Think about pack, or this is a company that's been profitable for our 82 years at the management team. There is incredibly capable, incredibly thoughtful, uh, and they're making a bet that that Aurora is, is the company they want to work with in the space. So we're proud of that for sure. Awesome. Yeah. And then the other big point, you know, in the investment side of things, Uh, a key point from the presentation talking about a four year lack of, for some of the investors you mentioned, you know, the long-term plan.

Uh, that's not something we see too often in spec deals, right. We usually see a six month lock up or maybe a 12 month lockup. Talk to us about the four year. Right? Why is that so important for the long-term success of a company like Aurora? Yeah, well, we, we think of it as about aligning incentives. And so the way that the, this deal was structured was for our, our partners at reinvent.

Um, there's both, uh, there's a lock and investing. And so for them, uh, the vesting is, uh, basically is price-based. So if the stock performs well, then they vest into their promote. Uh, and so they get a quarter of it on, I think, on the deal closing. Uh, and this is in the S four. So please, you know, go refer to that document.

Uh, but then, uh, another quarter of it at when we, uh, achieve $50 a share. Another quarter it's 1750 and then another quarter at, uh, $20. Right? And so that means that if the stock performs, they're going to get paid, which they should. Right. If they're doing, you don't have to creating value in the world. And if it doesn't, then they won't.

Uh, and then the, the, um, investment is further locked up. So even if we, you know, we shoot to $20 and stay there, you know, tomorrow, uh, then, you know, they're, they're locked up for four years where it rolls off it at 25% per year. And again, this is trying to signal to the market like, look, this is not a short-term flip it, bet this is a we're going to grow and create value here.

We did the similar thing for, uh, you know, the majority of our significant investors, including existing investors in core Aurora, including myself or other founders. And many of the, the big folks in here, we're, we're gonna, we're locked up for the next four years as well. And we're gonna, uh, you know, uh, that'll roll off, uh, basically 25% per year.

And again, we want to make sure that, you know, there's the, there's a. A number of really high quality specs. And then there's a number that, you know, maybe are less high quality and we wanted to help signal, like, look, we're we're in this to go win and to, to play for the long term. Definitely love that approach here.

Um, so let's dive into the business, right? So Aurora, we've got, you know, self-driving autonomous driving those terms that we hear a lot about. So we have a $9.4 trillion global trucking market. So tell us about Aurora and how you will be addressing the trucking market moving forward. Yeah. So for us, uh, freight is going to be the first market we enter.

Uh, and we look at the U S market where that's about a $700 billion market today. Um, they, uh, The big challenges that market one is a massive driver shortage, and we're all hearing about the logistics challenges we're facing in the U S as a variety of elements that contribute to that. Uh, but, but a big one is we just don't have enough drivers.

Uh, we're 60,000 short today, and we're going to be 160,000 short. By the end of the decade, what we can do with the Aurora driver is we can deliver a safe driving capability that work shoulder to shoulder with the people that are driving trucks, um, can do so, uh, w in a way where it's not limited by the hours of service that a human driver is, so can operate this, you know, this expensive.

Much more, uh, and you can get places quicker because instead of being limited to driving 10 hours, you can drive 20 hours. Uh, and so you can cover twice as much, uh, ground. And then on top of that, uh, because you don't have to kind of trade off between the cost of human time versus fuel. We actually operate the trucks at 65 miles an hour relative, you know, versus 75.

And that changed from 65 to 75 results in about a 25% savings in the amount of fuel you use. And that's great for the environment, of course, and it's good for the bottom line. So that creates a lot of value for our partners. Our model is to deliver the Aurora driver, uh, as a service. So think of it like a software as a service type business.

So we don't want to own trucks. We don't want to go in and compete with our customers. We want to actually go and focus on the thing we can do best, which is delivering the driver and enabling our partners to grow and scale their business. Yeah, perfect. That was one of the things I mentioned in the headlines.

Right. We hear about software as a service a lot. Right. The SAS business model, uh, Aurora will be using a driver as a service model. Can you just expand a little bit on that? What does that mean? You know, in terms of the financial outlook for Aurora using this business model. Yeah. So, so as we think about the model, if you're a customer that is buying trucks, what you'll do is you'll go to.

Uh, you go to Peterbilt and you say, I'd like to buy a 5, 7, 9 with the Aurora driver, uh, in, uh, on it. Uh, you'll buy the truck from, from Peterbilt and then you'll pay a roar, an ongoing, uh, you know, revenue stream and we'll have out of that will effectively cover, um, you know, some of the insurance will cover the, um, off-board data services, the depreciation of the hardware, obviously ongoing development of the driver.

They'll get a driver, a driver, or a driver enabled truck that goes out and builds their business. As we think about this, this model, um, you know, as we kind of get into the. Rough justice. We think that, you know, a truck will drive something like 270,000 miles a year and we'll generate something like 50 cents a mile of revenue in that range.

Uh, and so that means we're going to generate something like a $135,000 per truck is our, our estimate today. Uh, and there's a lot of trucks out there and because we were not owning that asset, we're, we're leaning into our partners who know how to operate those businesses effectively with it turns to really nice, um, high margin revenue, stream business for us.

We, we expect. Perfect. And then, you know, you mentioned a fleet being up first, um, or freight, excuse me, freight being up first. Um, but going forward, you know, there's also talks of, you know, the ride hail market, right? You have the Uber partnership and the investment. Um, what does it look like going forward?

Uh, additional markets for Aurora in terms of self-driving beyond. For sure. So, so we start with freight and then, uh, we anticipate entering the, the ride hailing market, uh, from there. And we're going to be doing that a little bit differently. So instead of trying to build a replacement to Uber or replacement to Lyft, we're going to layer our vehicles in or feather our vehicles into a Vuber network.

And this has a couple of really powerful properties. So first, um, we'll be able to deliver a product that's very similar to the truck driving product one, that'll start just off the freeway. Imagine an airport drives onto the freeway, takes you down the freeway, drops you off at your hotel or drops you off at the business district you're traveling to, and then return to you.

And it turns out that, you know, that looks a lot like, uh, you know, a truck leaving a terminal, getting onto the freeway, getting off the freeway, dropping off. We'll be able to do that because we don't have to serve all of the trips in a market. If you're trying to replace Uber and you want someone to actually use your app, you need to service all of the trips.

Otherwise people are like, oh, this is confusing. It's too complicated. I need to, you know, add, to think about which trip I want, uh, on which app. The other really interesting thing about this is most of the competitors in the space are really focused on the low speed driving capability. And it turns out if you look across whoever markets, a significant chunk of the trips actually require high-speed driving.

And so we'll be kind of coming into that market from, uh, from the high end. And then because of the special relationship we have with Uber, we have access to. Yeah, they're their data about the, kind of the, how people move in a city on a city block by city block kind of time of day, uh, you know, hour by hour kind of model.

And this is really interesting because what it means is as we've got our first product in the market, we can have a near perfect crystal ball that says, if I add this capability ongoing on lock, this many points of the, of, of the available market. And so we can calculate and understand what the ROI will be on each feature in a way that, you know, companies would we kind of kill for.

Uh, and so that allows us to build out that side of the business, uh, really efficiently. And as we add those features to the car, because it's the same software and hardware, that's in the car, that's in the truck. As the car gets better, that'll transfer back to the truck and then the truck will be able to go more places, uh, and kind of get to more granular destinations.

It's going, not just from terminal terminal, but perhaps, uh, Depot to local store over time. Awesome. Uh, you know, you, you hit a little bit on the timeline there for freight. Um, I know there's a slide in the presentation that shows a map of the U S right. And it kind of talks about, you know, which areas will get added first.

Can you just share with us a little bit, you know, the, the timeline for Aurora here, what key events should investors be looking forward to hearing more from Aurora on? Sure. So we're looking to, to we're working to launch our product and freight in late 23. That'll be in Texas is our expectation, uh, ly, Texas, because one it's the largest network or the largest kind of state for freight in the U S uh, second is the weather.

It's good. Um, and, and third, uh, that the regulatory regime there is quite favorable and frankly in 45 of the 50 United States, uh, if we had a truck, we had confidence in the safety of, we could bring it to market today, but the, you know, particularly in Texas, they've been very pro automated vehicle technology.

So we're excited for that. We'll then expect that to expand across the Southern freight network, the Southern freight routes, and then ultimately build up and, uh, into the, into the broader, uh, United States. Perfect. You know, when we talk, self-driving a term that gets thrown out a lot is LIDAR, right? So Aurora has in-house LIDAR technology.

Um, can you talk a little bit about LIDAR and why it's important for Aurora to be doing this in house rather than using a, you know, a competitor. Yeah. So when we, so first we're not really in competition with the LIDAR companies, right. Uh, our, our businesses to, uh, bring self-driving technology to market, uh, do that safely, quickly and broadly.

And so if somebody has a LIDAR that is more capable, that that kind of meets our needs. We're going to be using that in a heartbeat, right? Like we're, we're not a LIDAR company. We're a self-driving technology company that said, um, we just fruit for the application that we're trying to solve. We think we have a very differentiated strategic advantage here.

So our LIDAR, uh, most LIDAR works by sending the super-bright pulse of light out into the world comes back. And you kind of measure when you see something brighter, uh, bright enough that you call that a measurement. The challenge with that is one. You can only get so bright before you start damaging people's eyes.

And so there's a limit to how much power you can put out. Uh, and then the second is there's a lot of other bright stuff out there. So the sun, uh, you know, halogen, headlights, other LIDAR. And so you get some, some noise from that for a roars LIDAR first light. What's neat about it is it uses a different measurement mode is called frequency, modulator, continuous wave.

And the way you can think about this is we send this wave out into the world, the wave comes back and then we interfere the outbound and inbound wave. Uh, and that allows us then. Basically look for the phase difference between the two. And that means that we can estimate the distance from that. What's neat about this is that mixing of the outbound and inbound wave, uh, means that we get a 10 to 20 fold, uh, amplification.

So that means we get more signal with the same amount of power that means we can see further. Uh, and then we, uh, 'cause we can, uh, because we're looking for a very particular wave or a frequency or a way for them, we can basically discard all the stuff that doesn't do that. So the sun isn't oscillating in this particular way.

And so we don't get blinded by that. We don't get blinded by, uh, halogen has lights. And then finally with this measurement technique, we can actually measure the Doppler shift. So this is the way that, you know, if a siren for an ambulance goes by and you kind of hear that change in pitch, you can tell which way it's going.

Well, we can see that in the light that we're using to measure the world. And so that means we don't just get where things are, but we get how fast they're moving. And this means that we can react more quickly, more safely and drive better because of that. Love that. I mean, definitely safety, a big key here with self-driving.

So always love those comments. I want to turn a little bit to partnerships. We've already hit on some of these, um, but you know, so, uh, Pacar, Volvo and Toyota. So those truck OEM partners collectively represent over 50% of the U S market. And that's two of the top three truck OEMs. So can you talk a little bit about what these partnerships mean?

Is there any, you know, definitive agreements in terms of units or potential revenue, um, Yeah. So, so as we've built a roar again, given our focus on building the self-driving technology and working in partnership, it's been, um, let's make sure we go partner with the best. And if you look at the set of partners, we have, uh, you know, Toyota world's number one, car manufacturer, Uber world's, number one, ride hailing platform, FedEx, uh, largest carrier in the U S by tractors and trailers, and then pack are involved, which again, like you said to the top three, something like 48% of the U S truck market.

So amazing partners, um, with each of them, they're investing, you know, tens of millions of dollars. Well, with the OEM partners, they're investing tens of millions of dollars to build vehicles that are compatible with the Aurora driver that will then be able to bring to market. So, um, you know, and with each of them, it's, it's a relationship where we're helping to find the requirements for these vehicles they're generate or building the vehicles, and then working on the engineering work.

What's important to understand is that the Aurora driver is basically platform agnostic so that it can work on things from light passenger vehicles, all the way through big tractor trailers. Um, and it has an interface that we define that allows them to talk to those vehicles. So we can, we can work in, we have, I think we've integrated an eight different types of vehicles.

Um, but that doesn't mean we get away without working with, you know, we right. The manufacturer because they understand the vehicle, they have to make changes to the vehicles so that it can be compatible so that it can operate safely in the world. And so that's really, um, you know, it's just exciting to see.

And like I said, these are companies that are invested tens of millions of dollars to make vehicles that work with us. Yeah, definitely. I mean, bringing in some big names, uh, you know, on the table here, um, I want to turn a little bit to, to competition, right? We've heard a lot about autonomous and self-driving.

And Aurora, you know, certainly isn't the only company entering or that's been active in that space. Right. So what are some of the key competitive advantages you already hit on some, but just highlight some of the key competitive advantages for Aurora over some of the rivals out there. Yeah. And, and, you know, w there's just awesome companies out there.

We're excited. This is an important space. And, and frankly, it's gigantic a gigantic space. And just to put it in for, you know, kind of scale, uh, in 95, uh, when of Google had started advertising, advertising was what, $185 billion space. And, you know, Google and Facebook are like, what $3 trillion of market cap between them today, 25 years later, uh, the existing market, which is, and I'm thinking of just ride hailing, local goods delivery, and freight is five times bigger, right?

It's an 800 and something billion dollar market. And so, you know, the opportunity here is profound and we expect there to be, um, you know, uh, a number of winners, uh, you know, a small number of winners, uh, What do we, what do we see as advantages for Aurora? We see one, um, the experience our team has. So, you know, I've been doing this quite a while, help found and build Waymo for many years, uh, Sterling Anderson and our other co-founder, uh, launched model X and autopilot for Tesla, uh, drew Bagnall our third co-founder one of the top handful of people in machine learning and robotics on the planet, help found Uber self-driving car business.

So really deeply experienced co-founders that understand the space. Put around us, this incredible built attractive is incredible group of people. Um, you know, nap use who lead safety for us, uh, for seven years was the department of transportation, uh, held their HIV portfolio at NITSA. Right? So understands how the regulators think about this.

How do we engage with them? How do we help make sure that we're, you know, behaving in a responsible way so we can deliver our product? Um, our, uh, CSO was Google CSO, uh, so excited to have Gerhard with us. Um, you know, Dave who leads business development for us, uh, you know, lead corporate development for Mary Barra at general motors.

So really amazing cast of characters. And then we've got about, um, you know, uh, around 1600 people at the company today with that deep experience. So that experience means we're focusing on the technologies that will actually scale as opposed to the technologies that kind of end up in demo where, and so that I think is an advantage.

The partnerships we talked about, I just objective. I can't see a better set of partners to have if you're working in this space. And I don't think our competitors can, can match up there. Um, when I think about the, um, go to market path, the way we've architected the system intentionally they've passed the enter with trucking and then follow with ride hailing and not cede.

Either of those markets allows us to tap into, you know, kind of the $2 trillion space, which is a mobility and transportation in the U S and then ultimately more larger space globally. So I think that that go to market strategy is one that's difficult for some of our competitors to play in, um, either because of technological limitations or because of business models.

So if you're a cruise, you know, doing cool things, um, but general motors doesn't make big tractor trailers. And so you're just not going to play there. And so there's just a whole chunk of the market. So that, that the fact that we're an independent. Means that we can go and kind of steer our destiny in a way that's, you know, that, that delivers on our mission and will create value for our shareholders.

Perfect. Chris, I want to ask about, uh, M and a opportunities, right? So you made the acquisition, um, you know, with Uber earlier, you talked about, you know, a lot of players in self-driving space, right? So is there room for consolidation within autonomous driving or is there some vertical, um, you know, that maybe Aurora would look at down the road for M and a opportunity.

Yeah. So we we've been really, uh, pretty fortunate with the MNA we've, we've executed so far. And, you know, I think there's a lot of intention behind it. So I think we've now made five acquisitions. So we, uh, our first one was a small company called 70 labs where we brought in a, you know, a great person. Uh, who's been at the heart of what we've been doing in simulation, which is one of the really interesting differentiated technologies we're building here.

Um, we acquired Blackmore, which is the heart of, uh, analytics, which is the heart of our FMCW LIDAR. Firstlight LIDAR, which again, I think is a huge differentiator for us. Uh, we of course acquired Uber's business and in this space and amazing people, great technology. Amazing partnership that came along with that with Uber.

Uh, we acquired a company called hour's technologies, which was an integrated photonics company. So these are folks that basically take discreet optical components and put them in a chip much, like you'd take discrete electronic components and put them in a chip. So that's, uh, you know, the path to scalability and reliability for what we're doing with first light.

And then actually just yesterday, uh, we announced the acquisition of color space, uh, which is a group of X Pixar folks, um, again, to, to, to accelerate that. So yes, we, we think that that's. We don't have a monopoly on awesome people. So finding great people out there, bringing them in aligning to our mission is something, you know, we'll continue to do.

We do expect and solidation to continue to happen in the space. It's something that, you know, we knew was going to happen when we founded the company, right? Like any industry, you have a thousand flowers, blooming. There's a lot of great people making progress, but most of them don't get there. And so we want to be that place that people want to come and continue the mission.

Uh, and it's one of the advantages of becoming a public company is we'll have a better currency to go and make those acquisitions and continue to, to build in the way we, we expect will be meaningful for us. Perfect. Well, Chris, before we let you go, um, got some questions from the chat here at something we always like to do on SPACs attack, right?

Our loyal viewers, your potential investors out there. Um, we just got a good one from a time. Viewer, Carl. Asking. How about other machines like farm equipment? Is there any, uh, you know, interest in farm equipment, maybe construction and mining equipment down the road for self-driving from Aurora? It's certainly an interesting space, um, in general, the much smaller markets, uh, then, um, uh, then the car space and the trucking space, uh, or the light vehicle space and trucking space.

It's one of the things. So, um, we have folks that used to work with John Deere on their automation. We have folks that used to work with caterpillar and, you know, today caterpillar has haul trucks that drive themselves in minds. And, you know, I help kick that progress program off with caterpillar back when I was at Carnegie Mellon and then a bunch of the folks that are now at Aurora, kind of carried that through to, uh, to productization.

So it's an interesting space. It's certainly a place where we could see longterm some applications of what we're doing, but we're going to be focused on getting our, our core products to market. And then, you know, as we. As we have success in this, have the permission to go and expand and the places we'll definitely go and do that.

W we got a comment earlier, um, and this is what I've heard about self-driving before, right? A comment here from her, scramblers saying self-driving is great until the roads are bad in winter. You, you mentioned starting in Texas, you know, a fair weather state there. What do you say to some of the naysayers out there?

Right. Who maybe don't see self-driving ever working in states that have, you know, winter storms and other, you know, big weather patterns like that. Yeah. So, so I take responsibility for this meme. So I dunno, 10 years ago, maybe eight years ago I was, you know, doing an interview and somebody said, Something about weather.

And I said, you know, look, this is a really hard problem. We're going to focus on making it work in good weather first. Cause there's a lot of the U S where it is, and then we'll get to bad weather and, and, you know, and the answer is just like any other product. You, you have a set of features and capabilities you're going to deliver first because that unlocks value.

And then you expand them. As we design the Aurora driver, we're designing the sensor suite to be able to operate through different environmental conditions. This is why we don't just use cameras or just use radars or just use LIDAR. We use the combination of them so that we have complimentary data and complimentary failure modes, um, whether it's work, but it's not that big a deal in particular.

When you think about, you know, The, the opportunities for safety here. So I talk about, say driving through fog, right? And a lot of people do what I call faith-based driving. So they look out the windshield, they don't see a car. And so they're comfortable driving 70 miles an hour. And that's how you end up with, you know, a hundred car pile up on the freeway in Texas and the way the road driver will handle that is it will understand.

I can only see so far, uh, thus I'm going to operate at a lower speed so that I actually can operate within my safety, safety parameters. And so I think it ultimately ends up with, uh, a better, safer, uh, driver on.

Perfect. Uh, I think that's going to do it for questions here. Um, Chris, before I let you go, uh, we have a merger vote coming up soon. Remind everyone the merger vote date and what that new ticker will be for. Yeah. So I think our vote is, uh, announced on Tuesday. Um, assuming that goes positively, we would have, uh, closed the deal on a Wednesday and listing on Thursday, uh, and the new ticker will be a U R.

So we're really excited about that and, uh, you know, excited to be out in the public markets and, uh, you know, being able to create value for shareholders. So thank you. Awesome. Well, joining us on SPACs attack guys, Chris, Urmson the CEO and co-founder of a rural. Company going public via spec merger, reinvent technology partner, Y current ticker RTP, Y but as you heard Chris, just say next week, hopefully a you are the new ticker, Chris.

Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule and joining us. We look forward to following the company's progress. Thanks for having me, Chris. Awesome. Uh, well, thanks again, and guys out there, you know, another exciting interview, right? Autonomous driving. Self-driving it's, it's a topic we talk about a lot, um, you know, within the vehicle space and Mitch, I mean, this is an exciting company and talk about some big investors, some big partners that they've brought along the way you heard Chris say about competition.

Right? I would agree with them. Right. I don't think there's another self-driving company out there that can say that they have, you know, these bigger names for, for partners out there. So, uh, this, this is a big one. What do you think, Mitch? Oh, we got Bob Ross back in the house. Can I have to paint my way down the street?

Because it looks like Chris is getting after it. I, one thing that definitely interested me and I don't know if I'm sounding a little deep still, but, uh, one thing that definitely interested me was that the approach of let's not be a manufacturer. We don't need to make the vehicle. We just need to get the technology.

Right. And then if there's one thing that you have heard from me, Chris has been what atonomous before the real Evie adopt exactly. It needs to happen. The consumer needs a vehicle that can push them over the edge. Right. Because a lot of us are going to be battling this decision next year. Do I go Evie?

Or do I stick with my combustible engine? Right. And one thing that can get you over that hurdle is the convenience factor of an autonomous vehicle. Let's just be honest. Once we get that, I sign me up. I'll sit in the back. I'll sit down and just kind of watch. I just took a 13 hour drive to. What would I have done?

I would have put it in the slap slap match on the way to formula. And I could have been, I could have been watching the race if I want someday, someday down the road, we'll, we'll be able to do that. Right. And Aurora is one of those companies that, that is going to help do this. Right. I mean, we all want to get there, I think, right when we're talking about commutes, I mean, the driver shortage for semis, right?

I mean, and safety, right? You heard Chris talk about safety, being a key priority. I'd love that. Also loved Krista's honesty about whether, right. You know, that was a fair comment in the chat, right? It's something people always bring up. And when you hear self-driving, you know, you see them start in other states first, and then, you know, the goal is to expand to those states, like, like Michigan here.

Right? We have snow, but Mitch, I got to say, I've seen human drivers drive in the snow. And, uh, some of them aren't very good. So that's something to think about too. So, uh, but uh, hopefully everyone out there enjoyed this interview, guys, remember to smash the like and subscribe, if you already are not a member of Benzing his YouTube subscribers, Mitch, what do you think?

Should we, uh, should we turn to the watch list here and take a look on this, uh, fine Friday at what's moving. You know, one thing that we can do is always check out our watch list. We'll go ahead and check it out. And what is. Uh, stock I gave yesterday on, at the close and have been talking about it, looking for the reversal, Chris QS.

Yeah. I put QS on my list. Right? Cause I wanted you to talk about it because Mitch, this has been one that you've been all over over the past couple of weeks. And this was the one that fell out of favor. I mean, remember this was a hundred dollars stock last year, right? It was one of the hottest specs out there, but the technology is a couple of years away.

Well, what happened? They reported earnings this week and by earnings, I mean really their financial report. Right. Cause there isn't earnings yet, but they said enough to get investors excited again, I think. Right. And then you see that turn into the chart where now we see some volume, we see some momentum and we see people believing in the long-term story.

Hey, well, one thing that I definitely have been looking for is what's going to be the next move, right? What can be the next jump up? And one of the things that I was looking for was the underlining assets behind Evy battery, autonomous charging stations. Those are the ones that I think move first QS, starting to get moving here.

I even talked about it on live trading today, before the open I told Carl out there, Carl and I were talking last night about QS. I don't know if he was able to get it this morning. I'm sure he'll be mentioning it right now. Like, Hey, while, uh, looks like I missed out on that one, but that's just how it is.

Right. And one of the things with these, Chris, you gotta, you gotta invest. It's not more of a trade. It's an investment. And taking a shot in QS looks like it's not a bad move right now has a huge gap up to fill. If it gets in this area, uh, lucid is trying to do the same thing. And we'll see if these can kind of continue moving the other big winner I'm seeing out there.

We got a highlight is a matter port, right? MTT are, I'm seeing now up 15% looks like we have a headline on Benzinger pro looks like we got a positive. Um, was it an analyst note here? Uh, let me pull up a Wedbush Wedbush setting a $26 price target. Um, so again guys, if you don't have Benzinga pro you're missing out, we add headlines out.

We got exclusive comments from the company themselves. We had Matterport on specs attack a couple months ago, and again, I got to highlight it here. Mitch Matterport said. I like to think that by digitizing the built world, Matterport is creating the metaverse. So if you add a metaverse play, Matterport could be one.

And again, Matterport has an existing partnership with Facebook who is now going all in on the metaverse. I, I think those stories right there, this is definitely wanting to keep on watch. I mean, it might be a little bit too much of a flyer today, but maybe on a pullback, a Matterport looking good match.

Yeah. You know, one thing that I did see, and I actually, we, we talked about this one, Chris on live trading and it was clear as day, this little BYU bounce right here. Nice little vivo bounce after you got that extension pulled down right. To it bounced off right off of that. And what did it do? It gave you another shot at V , right?

Boom. And then it rocketed off from there. So definitely, uh, these, these stocks when they seem strong and they get that lift, look for the indicator to hold, to show you that bull is sense. And this one's been doing really good on actually on the daily look at the daily chart. Nice sideways action. This is what you want to see that sideways action, right after a big move up.

You don't want to see it come straight back down. You want to see some sideways action before you get that next boost on up, which actually helps it when it gets that next lift because the consolidation. And we get the next movement. I know I'm still sounding a little bit off. I did like the comment about, uh, SPACs attack with, uh, Chris and Barry white was one of the comments we got in the chat.

Um, whoever put that in there, a couple more here. Uh TDAC right. It's changing the next week. LTR R Y I did see shares dip today. Um, this is one that I would be looking at right heading into next week. And I do have a long position in these shares. Um, this is low float, so please be careful with this, but I just think once they get that name change to and then also when they highlight what they're going to do with

I just think this is one that's going to get a lot of attention. Um, so if this is not on your watch list, this is one I definitely want to draw more attention to. Well, uh, you see me draw in here. We've talked about these trendlines before, how long this was holding here in this spot. One of the things that I can point out is with this breakout, you've gotten what the volume to come back in so important.

And Chris looking like it's looking good. Really? TDAC ah, VW E vintage wine as another one. I would draw attention to 'em yesterday. There was a mention of an OTC Weinstock by someone on CNBC. I don't remember the ticker, but those shares shot up. Right? Because it was called essentially like the Netflix of the wine industry.

I mean, wine is one of those industries where I think once people pay attention to it, there's not a ton of peer plays and VW E I think could get some attention. Um, you know, so this is one to keep on watch as well. Love it, love it. It's looking like it's setting up looking like you had what one 10th to break down to attempt to break down three attempt to break down then right after it the next day, what did it do?

It WIC showed you a reversal candle right here, that candles so important. Now that you have that reversal, I would hold to that. And you can give yourself a shot for it to come back up towards the resistance. Major resistance is up here towards 1128, 1130s. That's where I could see it filling on up. We'll see if this one can keep moving.

R K L B rocket lab is another one I would draw attention to. Um, so going forward, they have a flight window opening on November 11th. They also have a flight, uh, later, November 27th, and then they also have earnings on November 15th. Um, there'll be launching some black sky imagery satellites to keep an eye on B K S Y two, but rocket lab, two launches and earnings in the month of November Mitch.

I mean, we've seen these space stocks before, right? Virgin galactic and others. Slight windows is a big catalyst. So pay attention to our KLB in November. Hey, like you said back to back launches. Why not keep it on a lots? Right. And we'll definitely keep that on. Watch. Um, coming up next, guys, we're going to be getting into the power hour.

What is going to be on power hour? Yeah. So BWM acts better where to Mexico, they reported third quarter earnings today. And this is a company I've talked to before here on specs attack. They're joining on power hour and they're going to talk about those earnings. And as I said, you know, revenue was up 4% year over year, but they've got an exciting plan ahead.

How they're going to grow their market share in Mexico from 20%. To 40% over the next five years. Um, so I will be tuning into that. So BWM ax, Mitch, before we go, I just want to say that next week that some of the stocks I'm watching, uh, RTP, Y who we of course interviewed today are Rora. They have their merger vote on the second and also SWB K their merger with the bird.

And then we also get earnings next week, Metro from two big names, right? Nicola, N K L a will be reporting earnings on November 4th. Um, that's always one that, that moves on catalyst, right? So good or bad. And then also MP materials on November 4th, uh, Mitch, I'm very excited for MP to hear their rebuttal, right.

To that short report. And then also to hear their earnings. Right. I mean, that's one of the big things we've been saying about this company, real revenue growth. Um, what, what do you think a MP next week in some of these other cases. Yeah. I mean, there's a lot to look out for. Um, one that I'm also looking out for the should be having earnings in early November.

I believe it's November 7th, but I'll have Chris confirmed that his body. Um, so there's a lot of them on the list that are coming up. And one of the things that we've been waiting for Chris is right. Is we always talk about it. Our expectations being met, it looks like November, November, 15 body, but that's a, that's a good color.

That mixed fitness bike. We get to hear how successful it really was. That's a big catalyst. I'll definitely be watching it a full disclosure. I did take some body. So I have been taken a little bit reason why I have heard that those sales could be potentially good. So we'll see what happens out of that body earnings and out of all of these earnings, because it's important.

Do they, are they meeting expectations is the biggest thing that investors are going to pay attention to? Definitely because with forward looking statements, what do we want to find out is that it wasn't really so much forward looking. It was more, yes, this is what we were going to do. Yeah, really. It was real all along.

It was real, not a paper dream there. So a nice call-out Mitch body. Um, so we'll be back on Monday and we'll try to lay out November, right? Um, Monday is November 1st. So we'll be going over our November calendar. And talk about those votes and some of those earnings states to watch. So an exciting show coming up, but guys, as I said, power hour coming up next, better where to Mexico PWM acts.

You don't want to miss that one. Um, so as always stay tuned and smash that like, and we will see everyone next week. Guys, as I wrapped up here, you guys are probably wondering why do you look like you look, Mitch, what are you doing? I mean, don't they say that all the time match. Oh, that's true. Right. But we won't get into that.

Chris. It's all about the Bob Ross today. And why is it about the Bob Ross? Because it's about you guys out there. We are doing a special giveaway just for you guys out there. So I want to get you guys a part of this giveaway. It's only for Benzinga pro users. So I will let you know if you're not a bending a pro user, sorry.

You're Sol, if you don't know what that is, ask for your friend to let you know what Sol means, but definitely, definitely guys, go ahead and click that link. Sign up to be a Benzinga pro user, if you haven't done so before we'll get you that two week free trial, that will give you a chance to win $1,000 in cash.

Guys you have a chance to win $1,000 this weekend, only if you're a, Benzing a pro user. So definitely sign on up guys, check it out. And Bob rock. Ross Boston, Rob Ross, Boston. I like it. You can't go wrong guys. Check out this video and we'll see you out on the power. Paysinger nation. Happy Halloween. We thought we'd celebrate with a $1,000 giveaway.

Yes. I said it $1,000 in cash giveaway. All you gotta do is be a Benzinga pro user to enter. If you're not, I have a loophole for you. Sign up for free trial, no credit card needed. Of course, follow Benzinga hit the retweet comment below for a bonus entry. You can put your favorite costume or gift idea. Of course include the pets.

If you got them. And we'll see you at the zinger nation, Halloween special.

Support this podcast at —
Audio Player Image
SPACs Attack