A leading autonomous vehicle company said on Friday that they have achieved a key milestone to deploying driverless semi trucks at scale by 2027.
Driverless truck tech company Aurora Innovation says that they’ve capped off their first year of partnership with manufacturing company Continental by finalizing the design and architecture for a self-driving truck hardware kit called the Aurora Driver, which puts the companies on target to deploy the technology for widespread commercial use by 2027.
The Aurora Driver is a hardware kit that can be integrated into an existing vehicle to allow it to operate autonomously.
Aurora and Continental are also at work on an industrialized fallback system which is also expected to go into production in 2027. This system is designed to eliminate the need for a human safety driver in the cab by providing built-in redundancies in case a sensor or component fails.
The companies laid out their year-by-year plan to bring the technology to mass market production within the next three years:
- 2023 – Blueprint and Design: Aurora and Continental align on the detailed system architecture, key requirements, and detailed technical specifications of the Aurora Driver hardware and new high-performance fallback system. This phase is complete.
- 2024-2025 – Build and Test: With the system architecture in hand, Continental will build initial versions of the hardware for testing at its new facility in New Braunfels, Texas, USA, and across its global manufacturing footprint.
- 2026-2027 – Finalization, Start of Production, and Integration: Continental will industrialize and validate the future Aurora Driver hardware and fallback system before the Start of Production at its facilities. The hardware will leverage a wide spectrum of Continental’s extensive automotive product portfolio from sensors, automated driving control units (ADCU), high-performance computers (HPC), telematics units, and more. The hardware and fallback system will be shipped to Aurora’s trucking manufacturing partners for integration into autonomous-ready vehicles. During this phase, the companies will also develop a service playbook and maintenance network for Aurora’s customers.
- 2027 and beyond – Deployment at Scale: Thousands of trucks integrated with the Aurora Driver are ready to autonomously haul freight across the U.S.
“From day one, we knew we’d need to build a strong ecosystem of partners to bring this technology to market safely and at a commercial scale,” said Chris Urmson, Co-Founder and CEO at Aurora. “Finalizing the design of our future hardware is a meaningful step toward making the unit economics of the Aurora Driver compelling and building a business for the long-term.”
“Technologies for autonomous mobility present the biggest opportunity to transform driving behavior since the creation of the automobile,” said Philipp von Hirschheydt, Executive Board member for the Automotive Group sector at Continental. “Achieving this milestone puts us on a credible path to deploy easy-to-service autonomous trucking systems that customers demand.”