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Young Companies Team up to Build Self-Driving, Electric SUV

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Feb. 9, 2018—A pair of young companies in the molting auto industry have paired to produce a self-driving, electric SUV by 2020. The electric SUV, designed by both Byton and Aurora, is expected to have a 300-mile range, as Wired reported.

Byton is a newly launched Chinese automaker that displayed its first prototype at CES earlier this year. The companies claim the SUV will be equipped with a massive, 49-inch screen that essentially runs the length of the vehicle’s dashboard.

“The electric car story is already done,” says Byton CEO Carsten Breitfeld. The shift away from gasoline and diesel is underway, as government incentives and technological advances hurry it along. A fierce battery pack isn’t enough to stand out in the auto industry anymore, he says. “We want to be the first real smart car.”

To make autonomy work, Byton recently teamed with software company Aurora; the self-driving car startup is a newcomer to the self-driving development race, but its leaders are experienced. Chris Urmson helped launch the self-driving team at Google, for example, and Sterling Anderson once led Tesla’s Autopilot program. Aurora has already announced partnerships with Volkswagen and Hyundai.

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