How Will Aurora’s New Driverless Truck Announcement Benefit Its Customers?
By TD NewsDesk
Updated on Fri, Nov 3, 2023
At the time, the company had more than 30 trucks running on Texas roads that freighted 20+ million pounds over 400,000 miles for companies like FedEx, Uber Freight, Werner and Schneider. However, the company faced issues in the form of government regulations, particularly California’s Assembly Bill 316.
The bill, which would ban heavy-duty, driverless vehicles operating in the state without the presence of a trained driver onboard, was passed by the California Senate on September 11, 2023.
That issue was also resolved when California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed the bill on September 22, 2023. Check out our report on the saga.
Now, Aurora has a new announcement and while it doesn’t pertain to California, it is exciting!
What’s it all about? Let’s explore:
What Did Aurora Announce?
- In a press release made by Aurora, the company announced it has opened the industry’s first lane for driverless trucks, which will connect Dallas and Houston.
- This will be supported by commercial-ready terminals in Dallas and Houston. Aurora’s first commercial-ready terminal was launched in April and is situated in South Dallas.
- With the company’s new terminal in Houston, Aurora will be able to support and service driverless trucks on a commercial scale.
- Considering that almost half of Texas’ truck freight makes use of the I-45 (Interstate Highway 45) between Dallas and Houston, this route remains ideal for Aurora’s commercial launch.
What Is Aurora’s Ideology Behind Its Terminals?
- At present, Aurora’s terminals operate day and night. They enable the company to haul over 75 loads per week for its pilot customers.
- These terminals are used to house, maintain, prepare, inspect and deploy autonomous trucks between destinations.
- Using an innovative blueprint, the terminals are “designed to maximize the time autonomous trucks are on the road hauling freight.”
- The company even picks its terminals keeping its customers in mind. The company’s Houston terminal is located close to the logistics hub of its pilot customers and enables them to seamlessly integrate the autonomous trucks into their operations.
- Aurora also houses a Command Center that includes specialists who monitor and provide guidance to the company’s trucks, as well as dispatchers who allocate trucks, trailers and vehicle operators to missions.
- According to the company’s press release, Aurora is also preparing its Command Center to support around-the-clock commercial operations, which already supports commercial pilot hauls and is prepared to support driverless missions.”
What Did Aurora Say?
- Speaking about the move, Sterling Anderson, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at Aurora, said, “Opening a driverless trucking lane flanked by commercially-ready terminals is an industry-first that unlocks our ability to launch our driverless trucking product.”
- [Contd.] “With this corridor’s launch, we’ve defined, refined, and validated the framework for the expansion of our network with the largest partner ecosystem in the autonomous trucking industry.”
- Anderson also said, “Bringing our commercial-ready terminals and services online a year ahead of our planned commercial driverless launch between Dallas and Houston enables us to focus next year on integrating our Driver-ready trucks into our customers' operations.”
Aurora’s move comes shortly after self-driving taxi service companies are facing flak from federal authorities (read more). Interestingly, Aurora also offers self-driving technology that can be employed across vehicle types - Aurora Driver.
What do you think of Aurora’s move? Do you think this will set a trend for other companies to enter the race or do you think Aurora’s move has put it in the driving seat?
Let us know in the comments below!
First published on Fri, Nov 3, 2023
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