Aurora has opened what it says is the industry’s first lane for driverless trucks through terminals in Dallas and Houston supported by its commercial-ready terminals.
Expected to operate around the clock, Aurora’s trucks are set to haul more than 75 loads a week for its pilot customers.
“Nearly half of all truck freight in Texas moves along I-45 between Dallas and Houston, making this corridor an ideal route for Aurora’s commercial launch,” a news release stated. “Similar to its first terminal in South Dallas, Aurora’s new terminal in Houston is designed to support and service driverless trucks at a commercial scale.”
Aurora uses terminals to house, maintain, prepare, inspect, and deploy the trucks between destinations after developing “an innovative terminal blueprint to implement a layout and list of features that make its terminals commercial-ready for the launch of driverless operations.” Such a blueprint, the news release claims, maximizes the time driverless trucks are on the road.
“Opening a driverless trucking lane flanked by commercially-ready terminals is an industry-first that unlocks our ability to launch our driverless trucking product,” Sterling Anderson, Aurora’s co-founder and chief product officer, said in a prepared statement. “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.”
Aurora’s portfolio of products includes Aurora Driver, its self-driving technology that can be employed across vehicle types, and driverless trucking subscription service Aurora Horizon, Reuters reported. The company is preparing its command center to support commercial operations around the clock that includes remote specialists who monitor and provide guidance to Aurora-powered trucks and dispatchers, according to Reuters.
Aurora has certainly not been alone in its quest to test and bring driverless commercial vehicles to Texas and across the U.S. Brands with shipping clout and shipping needs, such as J.B. Hunt and FedEx, have backed moves into the space. Notably, Waymo recently halted its tests between Dallas and Houston in the autonomous trucking space.