Aurora and Volvo unveil self-driving truck designed for a driverless future

A brand new self-driving truck — manufactured by Volvo and loaded with autonomous car tech developed by Aurora Innovation — could possibly be on public highways as early as this summer time. 

The Volvo VNL Autonomous truck, which was revealed Monday night on the ACT Expo in Las Vegas, is the product of a partnership between Aurora and Volvo Autonomous Solutions. Aurora plans to begin hauling freight utilizing these Volvo self-driving vehicles within the subsequent a number of months. The vehicles shall be in autonomous mode and can nonetheless have a human security operator behind the wheel to take management if wanted.

Later this yr, the corporate plans to announce pilot packages with prospects that can use the Volvo VNL Autonomous truck, based on an Aurora spokesperson. Volvo has already began to fabricate an preliminary take a look at fleet of those self-driving vehicles at its New River Valley meeting facility in Virginia.

The reveal of the Volvo VNL Autonomous truck comes as Aurora continues to push in the direction of its acknowledged objective to commercialize self-driving vehicles by the top of 2024. The firm initially plans to hold freight between Dallas and Houston utilizing as much as 20 driverless Class 8 vehicles — this time with no human behind the wheel. Aurora declined to share whether or not vehicles made by Volvo, or its different companion Paccar, could be in that inaugural driverless fleet.

Getting to commercialization is existential for Aurora — one of many final autonomous trucking firms standing. Last yr, Waymo Via put the brakes on its self-driving trucking program, and TuSimple just lately left the U.S. market in favor of increasing in Asia. Aurora has not been resistant to the high-capital prices of creating after which launching industrial autonomous vehicles both. In January, the corporate laid off 3% of its workforce with a purpose to trim prices prematurely of its industrial launch.

Consolidation within the AV business has meant fewer rivals for Aurora. Einride, Torc and Kodiak Robotics, which revealed its personal purpose-built self-driving huge rig, are among the many few that stay.

The Volvo partnership, which the businesses first inked in March 2021, is one a part of Aurora’s commercialization technique. Aurora has launched pilot packages with logistics firms FedEx, Ryder, Schneider and Uber Freight. In January, Aurora and automotive provider Continental closed the primary part of a greater than $300 million challenge to mass produce autonomous car {hardware} for industrial self-driving vehicles. The two firms finalized the design and system structure for an AV {hardware} equipment, in addition to the blueprint for a secondary pc that may take over operations if a failure happens. The Continental {hardware} equipment received’t be in Aurora vehicles till 2027, however the Volvo VNL will nonetheless be filled with security options, the corporate says.

The Volvo truck options redundant steering, braking, communication, computation, energy administration, power storage and car movement administration techniques, based on Aurora. The truck can also be built-in with the so-called Aurora Driver, a self-driving system that features twin computer systems, self-driving software program, in-house lidar that may detect objects greater than 1,300 ft away, high-resolution cameras and imaging radar.

“Our platform engineering strategy prioritizes security by incorporating high-assurance redundancy techniques designed to mitigate potential emergency conditions,” mentioned Shahrukh Kazmi, chief product officer at Volvo Autonomous Solutions, in an announcement. “We constructed the Volvo VNL Autonomous from the bottom up, integrating these redundancy techniques to make sure that each safety-critical part is deliberately duplicated, thereby considerably enhancing each security and reliability.”

Once Aurora and Volvo have validated this platform, the plan is to begin totally driverless operations with a “modest-sized fleet of vehicles,” based on the Aurora spokesperson, who declined to supply a particular timeline. The spokesperson mentioned that over the subsequent few years, Aurora and Volvo anticipate to begin high-volume manufacturing of the Volvo VNL built-in with the Aurora Driver.

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