Aurora Releases Driver Beta 2.0 Autonomy System

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March 31, 2022

Aurora Innovation has announced the launch of Aurora Driver Beta 2.0, the second release of its integrated hardware and autonomy system. The new release powers Aurora’s truck fleet and recently unveiled Toyota Sienna test fleet, as well as add new features and improvements to prepare Aurora Driver for commercial launch.

The company said new features and critical improvements include the following:

  • Advanced highway and suburban capabilities, including more complex construction zone navigation, which is key for hauling freight across the country;
  • Upgraded cameras with higher resolution that allow for obstacle detection at twice the distance from before;
  • A new commercial route between Fort Worth, Texas, and El Paso, Texas, supported by daily map updates.

The new highway and suburban road capabilities allow Aurora Driver to safely and reliably operate on longer commercial routes, the company said. These features can:

  • Seamlessly navigate complicated construction zones that require changing lanes and nudging round concrete barriers and/or traffic cones;
  • Identifying and reacting naturally to temporary speed limit and lane closure signs, construction workers and vehicles, trucks hauling oversized oil equipment, and other unique vehicles and actors commonly seen in long-haul trucking;
  • Performing Texas U-Turns, a road configuration that is commonly adjacent to interstates and an essential maneuver for terminal-to-terminal operation.

Aurora said as a result of continued virtual and on-road testing, the new release also features matured driving capabilities released in Beta 1.0, such as unprotected left turns, high-speed merges, and lange changes.

The higher camera resolution offers four times the amount of pixels than before, giving the system four times more camera data to ingest, allowing it to see the same level of detail at twice the distance. Combined with Aurora’s FirstLight lidar and imaging radar, the high-resolution, long-range cameras allow the system to perceive and react to distant objects, such as road debris, vehicles on the shoulder, construction zones, and more, the company said.

The commercial route between Fort Worth and El Paso is the “middle leg” between Atlanta to Los Angeles, one of the busiest commercial thoroughfares in the U.S. Aurora said Driver is delivering commercial freight on this route on a weekly basis.

In addition, Aurora Driver-powered vehicles are designed to handle unexpected situations. As the system navigates commercial routes, the HD mapping system, Aurora Atlas, continuously updates to reflect new construction, fresh lane markings, vegetation growth, and more. Aurora said these updates are then shared across its fleet of trucks and minivans. With stronger tooling and data pipelines, Aurora said the Atlas releases updates in hours, giving all vehicles powered by Aurora Driver up to date and reliable information about the state of the road.

The company said Driver 2.0 is the first version that will power the vehicle platforms expected to launch both Aurora Horizon (its trucking product) and Aurora Connect (its ride-hailing product). The Aurora Common Core of Technology enables the intelligence and learnings from its trucks to easily adapt to its minivans.

“Aurora Driver Beta 2.0 represents an incremental yet critical milestone in our path to launching an end-to-end autonomous product that can safely move both freight and people,” said Chris Urmson, CEO and co-founder of Aurora. “Whether we’re hauling goods for FedEx or preparing to take passengers to the airport, we’re seeing our technology evolve into a valuable product, and that’s exciting.”

For more details on the new system, visit the Aurora website here.

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