Aurora and Volvo are working together to bring long-haul autonomous trucks to North America
Autonomous vehicle startup Aurora Innovation announced on Tuesday that it had entered into an agreement with Volvo to jointly develop autonomous tractor units for North America.
The partnership, which the two companies say will last several years and will be handled through Volvo’s Autonomous Solutions unit, will focus on trucks built for autonomous operation on highways between hubs for Volvo customers. The Aurora Driver technology stack – Aurora’s self-driving software, computer and sensor suite – will be integrated into Volvo trucks.
The announcement follows Uber’s recent acquisition of Uber’s self-driving subsidiary and a separate deal with Toyota to develop self-driving minivans. Aurora now has partnerships with two of the top three truck manufacturers – Paccar and Volvo – who manufacture and sell nearly 50% of all Class 8 trucks in the country.
“Our previously announced collaborations with partners such as Paccar will continue in parallel with the collaboration with Volvo,” an Aurora spokesman told TechCrunch trucks, which can be operated without a safety driver, will be launched first and widely deployed. “
Aurora said its frequency modulated continuous wave lidar – through the acquisition of Blackmore and OURS Technology – will be key to solving long-distance autonomous transportation. Lidar, or light detection and range radar, is seen as a necessary part of self-propelled systems. Aurora’s pitch is that, unlike traditional time-of-flight lidar, its technology provides the far-range vision necessary to be able to spot hazards with enough time to stop or slow down.
The announcement also marks a significant acceleration for Volvo’s autonomous vehicle arm, Volvo Autonomous Solutions. It is the business unit’s first store to bring autonomous trucking to the road.
Since its inception in 2017, Aurora has quickly grown to become a leading provider of self-driving technology and is backed by Amazon, Sequoia Capital and Greylock Partners. The company was founded by former executives from Uber, Tesla, and Google.