Aurora, a start-up founded by the former head of Google’s self-drivingproject, will feed its technology into car giants Volkswagen and Hyundai. PALO ALTO, Calif.

— Before the car can drive without a human, one must first get behind the wheel. As the driver accelerates, stops and turns on local streets, sensors on the car record what he sees and track how he responds.

Then a team of engineers builds software that can learn how to behave from that data. The software is installed in the car, and it can drive on its own.

In the end, the car mimics choices made by the human driver. This is how things work at Aurora Innovation, a start-up founded by three veterans of autonomous vehicle research, including Chris Urmson, who previously led the self-driving car project at Google.

The company’s methods are part of a change sweeping across the world of self-driving cars: a kind of so-called machine learning technology that promises a chance for little companies like Aurora to compete with the giants of both the tech and automotive industries. With it, researchers can build and improve autonomous vehicles at a far more rapid pace — one of the reasons Aurora believes it can close the gap on companies that have been working on self-driving technology for years. Read more from…

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