Autonomous vehicle company Aurora Innovation, Inc. says that they have entered the final phase of a commercial launch of driverless truck operations in Texas.
On April 3, Aurora announced that “the company has introduced the final driving capabilities needed to commercially haul freight without vehicle operators between Dallas and Houston by the end of 2024.” Until then, a safety driver will remain in the cab to take over in an emergency.
Check out the company’s video promoting the Dallas/Houston autonomous lane below.
The company says that they have made multiple updates to the Aurora Driver Beta system over the past 18 months, “incrementally increasing the Aurora Driver’s autonomous performance, safety, and reliability in pilot hauls for companies like FedEx, Werner, Schneider, and Uber Freight” and that the system is now “Feature Complete.”
Aurora highlights two features unlocked by the Aurora Driver Beta 6.0 update:
- Identifying and responding to collisions with other vehicles or property. For example, when the Aurora Driver detects that it has been in a collision, like a sideswipe, it will come to a safe stop and notify a Command Center Specialist.
- Detecting and responding to “out of design domain” scenarios. In situations such as extreme and unexpected weather events, the Aurora Driver will notify a Command Center Specialist, who can instruct it and the rest of the fleet on how to proceed.
Aurora says that as operations mature, they expect to increase to 100 loads per week by the end of 2023 as part of a pilot program prior to the 2024 commercial launch.
Aurora says that the Feature Complete status is an important milestone in rolling out their subscription-based driverless truck service called Aurora Horizon.
“From day one, we made foundational technology investments and strategic decisions that have helped us reach this pivotal moment,” said Chris Urmson, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Aurora. “We are now positioned to close our Safety Case for launch, the final step to achieving Aurora Driver Ready later this year. As we mature operations in advance of the launch of Aurora Horizon, our customers will continue to experience the value autonomy can bring to their businesses.”