Moving towards a commercial product, Aurora’s vehicles hit Texas roads

Aurora Team
Jul 20, 2020 · 3 min read
Enjoying the view in Texas. A small fleet of Aurora vehicles, fully integrated with Aurora’s FirstLight Lidar, will hit the roads in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area.

There are two universally acknowledged truths when it comes to Texas: everything is bigger and they take logistics seriously. In fact, more than a tenth of all long-haul truck drivers in America drive in Texas, and freight moved on Texas highways is expected to nearly double in the next 25 years.

Today we’re excited to announce that we’ve expanded testing and development to Texas. In the next few weeks, you can expect to see a small fleet of Aurora vehicles, fully integrated with Aurora’s FirstLight Lidar, in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area. We’ll be testing commercial routes that sit at the center of key logistics delivery corridors with our fleet of Pacificas and then class 8 trucks.

We have always said we’d pick a path to market that allows us to make the biggest impact the fastest. It’s right there in our mission: to deliver the benefits of self-driving technology safely, quickly, and broadly. The Aurora Driver is architected to operate various classes of vehicles across a wide range of roadways and operating environments. While the Driver will ultimately move both people and goods, our first commercial product will be in trucking — where the market is largest today, the unit economics are best, and the level of service requirements is most accommodating. Our FirstLight Lidar is critical to pursuing this product sequence and gives us a crucial competitive advantage in high-speed self-driving.

An Aurora truck at our vehicle shop in California. Aurora’s first commercial product will be in trucking — where the market is largest today, the unit economics are best, and the level of service requirements is most accommodating.
Whether a vehicle is moving people or goods, an investment in foundational elements like world-class perception, localization, and motion planning can’t be sidestepped. Our early focus on the complexities of surface street driving accelerates our ability to handle the hardest aspects of trucking.

Texas’ role as a crucial state in the movement of goods makes it a natural place for Aurora’s expanded testing. With more public road miles than any other state, Texas understands that self-driving technology will have a critical safety impact for those who drive on its roads. Because of its open regulatory environment and pro-business policies, it is an ideal place to work with our government partners and bring innovative technologies that will decrease road fatalities and make our roads safer.

Of course, driving in Texas has specific requirements and nuances, as does trucking. But when it comes to building self-driving technology, progress is additive. Whether a vehicle is moving people or goods, an investment in foundational elements like world-class perception, localization, and motion planning can’t be sidestepped. Our early focus on the complexities of surface street driving accelerates our ability to handle the hardest aspects of trucking. While this investment takes time on the front end, its payoff can’t be underestimated. Our work in Texas is also additive; experiences navigating new routes in Texas and preparing our system for safe highway driving are applicable and beneficial to the broader rollout of the Aurora Driver.

We’re excited to hit the road in Texas and are hiring for a number of roles in the Dallas area! Visit our Careers page to learn more about positions at all of our locations.

Aurora Blog

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