FRANKFURT, Germany/PITTSBURGH, US. — The technology companies Continental and Aurora Innovation, Inc. have entered into an exclusive partnership to deliver the first commercially scalable generation of Aurora’s flagship-integrated hardware and software system, the Aurora Driver.
The organizations will jointly design, develop, validate, deliver, and service the scalable autonomous system for the trucking industry.
The system is expected to be available for carriers and commercial fleet operators across the U.S. and to help reduce costs to facilitate broader adoption. Continental will leverage its decades of experience in systems development for safer, more reliable automotive solutions to industrialize the Aurora Driver and deliver the entire hardware set as well as a new fallback system.
In the unlikely event of a failure in the primary autonomy system, the fallback system is designed to ensure a driverless truck can continue the driving task until it reaches a safe position.
Additionally, Continental will manage the complete lifecycle of its supplied autonomous hardware kits for the Aurora Driver, from the manufacturing line to decommissioning. The first start of production is expected in 2027, following the expected launch of Aurora Horizon, Aurora’s subscription trucking service underpinned by the Aurora Driver, in 2024.
“At Continental, we are proud to demonstrate our leading technology expertise by being responsible for the development, manufacturing and implementation of the autonomous driving system kits and the fallback path for Aurora’s autonomy system,” said Nikolai Setzer, CEO of Continental. ”In this exclusive partnership, we bundle our systems competence with Aurora’s industry-leading autonomous technology for our common goal to jointly realize the first commercially scalable autonomous trucking systems. A crucial step towards autonomous mobility.”
“Delivering autonomous vehicles at scale has the potential to dramatically transform modern transportation, bringing new accessibility, safety and efficiency to the movement of goods and people,” said Chris Urmson, co-founder and CEO at Aurora. “Continental’s legacy in development and industrialization of automated driving systems, combined with its commitment to transform transportation make it an ideal partner for Aurora. Their depth of expertise will be pivotal to scaling Aurora’s autonomous trucking service, Aurora Horizon.”
Increased safety, reduced fuel consumption and quicker delivery times
Given the continued strain on the global supply chain, autonomous trucking solutions have the potential to help meet today’s growing demand and ease the strain currently experienced worldwide. Autonomously powered trucks have the ability to operate around the clock opening up the possibility for cargo between Dallas and Los Angeles (comparable to Berlin to Madrid) to be delivered within less than 24 hours. As a result, fuel consumption can potentially be reduced by around ten percent, while the delivery time can be shortened up to three times compared to that of a human driver. With more than 1.35 million annual global deaths on roadways according to the World Health Organization, autonomous vehicles represent an opportunity to transform travel safety for millions of individuals and the transportation of millions of goods. Through this joint work, Continental and Aurora are committed to improving safety, delivering scalable and predictable driving capacities via the Aurora Driver, as well as enhancing efficiency with higher utilization.
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