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Aurora Teams with Werner for Autonomous Truck Pilot in Texas


April 6, 2022

Aurora Innovation has announced a collaboration and commercial pilot with Werner Enterprises, a transportation and logistics provider. The two companies aim to test and safely deploy autonomous trucks to haul loads between Fort Worth, Texas, and El Paso, Texas, one of the most commercially active highways in the U.S.

Aurora said the lane represents the middle leg of one of the busiest commercial thoroughfares for Werner and the U.S. trucking industry: Atlanta to Los Angeles. Introducing an autonomous route between Fort Worth and El Paso allows Werner to move freight seamlessly and reliably on a subset of one of its most voluminous lanes, the company said.

In addition, the Werner collaboration broadens Aurora’s customer ecosystem to include multiple carrier types. The pilot is designed to advance the Aurora Driver and Aurora Horizon autonomous truck to develop a robust service for carriers. Operators are accompanying each truck in the pilot fleet on weekly hauls, ready to assist if necessary. But over the next several months, Aurora and Werner said they expect to increase the frequency of these loads and explore further autonomy for vehicles in this lane.

The Fort Worth-to-El Paso lane is more than 600 miles, and takes approximately nine hours to complete, Aurora said. Its long distance and monotony contribute to the lane’s reputation for being unappealing for truck drivers. By deploying the Aurora Driver on such hauls, autonomous trucks will be able to handle less popular routes, while human drivers transport more convenient hauls conducive to desirable lifestyles.

Aurora added that the new route is a technical and operational milestone in its development of deploying the Aurora Driver at Scale. To start the pilot, Aurora brought two new terminal sites online to service the route and build the technological and operational infrastructure required to operate it. 

“Werner has a long history of pioneering new technology within the industry,” said Derek LEathers, chairman, president and CEO of Werner. “This collaboration and pilot with Aurora is another step forward in our commitment to sustainability and safety for our drivers, customers and the motoring public through innovation. We look forward to building a hybrid world where drivers continue to haul freight while autonomous trucks supplement rising demand.”

For more details on the Aurora Driver and Aurora Horizon offerings, visit its website here.

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