Volvo Autonomous Solutions is cooperating with self-driving startup Aurora on a new lineup of fully autonomous semi-trucks, the organizations declared. The trucks will be conveyed in North America on exceptionally frequented hub-to-hub routes. The two plan to together grow globally-leading autonomous transport solutions at scale, starting with North America.
It was just a month ago that self-driving vehicle startup Aurora said it was banding together with Toyota to build up a fleet of robotaxis. The organization has now reported a new agreement with Volvo to construct completely autonomous semi-trucks that will carry cargo across North America.
The deal between Volvo Autonomous Solutions and Aurora — which was established by previous executives from Google, Tesla, and Uber — is a “long-term partnership spanning several years,” the organizations said.
The partnership announced in a press release today is said to span several years, to join technologies to create and deploy on-highway autonomous trucks. Through the partnership, the two organizations will attempt to incorporate the autonomy package of the Aurora Driver into Volvo’s Class 8 highway trucks. Volvo and Aurora trust their technology will help them become the worldwide leader in Transport as a Service (Taas).
It’s likewise the most recent partnership between a significant OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and an autonomous technology startup, as the industry proceeds to gradually inch toward a future with all the more completely driverless traveler vehicles and trucks on the road.
The two organizations say they’ve been investigating a potential partnership since 2018 when they met up to build a prototype truck nicknamed Pistachio. At that point, Aurora admits its Driver technology wasn’t progressed enough to securely control a vehicle as large and heavy as a semi on a highway.
However, with new sensor technologies, Aurora procured in 2019, the two organizations believe they’re presently prepared to construct a fleet of Level 4 autonomous trucks that will travel busy hub-to-hub routes between significant North American cities. As well as aiding make the vehicles, Aurora will give logistics and operations support, utilizing the cloud to route those trucks most proficiently conceivable.
“These trucks will combine the best of Volvo’s technology with the Aurora Driver, which uniquely has the ability to detect and track objects well beyond 300 meters, into a compelling and scalable logistics platform,” the company said.
In 2018, Volvo Group worked with Aurora to make a self-driving Volvo truck they nicknamed Pistachio. Nonetheless, nor side’s technology was the place where it should have been at an opportunity to demonstrate effectiveness.
Aurora has been trying its “Aurora Driver” hardware and software stack in its test fleet of minivans and Class 8 trucks in the Dallas-Fort Worth zone since a year ago. In contrast to its adversaries, which are generally focused on robotaxi applications, the organization has said that its first commercial service will be in shipping “where the market is the largest today, the unit economics are best, and the level of service requirements is most accommodating.”
“Creating a viable autonomous on-highway offering requires close partnerships with both customers and tech partners to develop the needed capabilities,” says Nils Jaeger, president of Volvo Autonomous Solutions, in a statement. “This exciting partnership brings our goal of transport as a service an important step closer and will accelerate our commercial offer for hub-to-hub applications in North America.”
To date, Aurora has brought $690 million up in financing, and co-founder and CEO Chris Urmson has been hailed as the “Henry Ford of autonomous vehicles,” on account of his work assisting with pioneer Google’s self-driving car activity. His co-founders are Sterling Anderson, who aided lead Tesla’s Model X project, and Drew Bagnell, who ran a research lab at Carnegie Mellon then left to work on autonomous vehicles at Uber. Fiat Chrysler, Hyundai, and EV startup Byton are additionally Aurora clients.
The two sides parted ways and got busy creating L4 autonomy separately. In 2019, Aurora obtained a leading Lidar organization in Blackmore. From that point, it started to build up a sensing suite at last prepared to do securely working enormous trucks at high speeds. In 2020, Aurora started to send Class 8 trucks coordinated with its Aurora Driver technology containing its new Lidar.
Simultaneously as Aurora, the Volvo Group was executing its own division focused on creating industrial autonomous vehicles. Consequently, Volvo Autonomous Solutions was born. Presently, the two groups have rejoined to take one more break at Level 4 autonomous driving in Volvo’s highway trucks.
The organization raised half a billion dollars a year ago in a financing round led by Amazon. It likewise procured Uber’s autonomous division and collaborated with Toyota and Denso to build up a fleet of robotaxis, with the first hitting the road by the finish of 2021.
Volvo, which is the second-biggest maker of heavy-duty semi-trucks, has been slowly adding all the more partially autonomous features in its trucks yet still can’t seem to strike a deal to assemble completely driverless delivery vehicles.
Long-haul trucking is probably going to be one of the first broad applications of automated driving technologies. Surely, there are widespread fears in the trucking industry that autonomous technology will prompt colossal displacement among truck drivers.
A 2017 study found that automated trucks could lessen the demand for drivers by as much as 50 to 70 percent in the US and Europe by 2030, with 4.4 million of the 6.4 million professional drivers on the two continents delivered old. These fears are increased as tech organizations present eye-catching, cabin-less prototypes intended to remove the driver totally from the equation.
There’s been a flurry of partnerships and other corporate deals in recent years in the nascent driverless trucking industry, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic provides reason to feel ambiguous about the drawn-out feasibility of using autonomous vehicles for traveler transportation.
Set up players like Daimler said they would unite with Waymo, while rookies like TuSimple, Ike, Embark, and Plus are likewise pursuing completely driverless trucks.
Aurora is rapidly becoming one of the most important players in the autonomous vehicle space. Toward the beginning of the year, the organization made a sprinkle when it ate up Uber’s self-driving unit and got an investment $400 million investment from the ride-hailing giant. It says it will share more data on its partnership with Volvo sooner rather than later.