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Aurora Releases Driver Beta 5.0 on Journey to Commercial Launch

Aurora Driver Beta 5.0 release autonomous trucking

Pittsburgh-based Aurora Innovation has announced the release of Aurora Driver Beta 5.0, the latest version of its integrated hardware and autonomy system, to its autonomous trucking fleet in Texas. With a more performant Aurora Driver, the company said it is advancing toward commercial launch and continues to increase its weekly freight hauls for pilot customers such as FedEx, Uber Freight, Werner, and Schneider.

The new Driver  Beta 5.0 unlocks key safety-critical and increasingly complex highway driving capabilities, which enables trucks to autonomously operate in more scenarios. The new capabilities include:

  • Detecting and appropriately responding to emergency vehicles such as ambulances, fire engines and law enforcement vehicles;
  • Safely re-entering traffic after resolving a system problem that prompts the Aurora Driver to pull over to the shoulder;
  • Navigating lanes with temporary barriers, a typical scenario in construction zones.

Aurora Driver is the autonomy system that underpins Aurora Horizon, the company’s subscription-based autonomous trucking service. Aurora said it expects to reach “Feature Complete” at the end of Q1 2023, which will indicate the capabilities required for commercial launch have been implemented in Aurora Driver and all policy interventions have been removed.

“We are already demonstrating the value an autonomous trucking product can bring to our pilot customers as we continue to deliver loads across Texas each day,” said Chris Urmson, co-founder and CEO at Aurora. “Launching our latest beta release moves Aurora one step closer to a commercial-ready product and helps to prepare us for the scaled deployment of Aurora Horizon across the country.”

In the past year, Aurora said it introduced five beta releases to bring it closer to commercial launch, with capabilities such as merging and lane-changing at highway speed, and unprotected left-hand turns. Beta 2.0 included construction zone navigation; Beta 3.0 added a Fault Management System that identifies and responds to system problems by safely pulling over to the shoulder; and Beta 4.0 included the ability to circumvent debris on the road and navigate other unexpected or potentially dangerous situations.

After it reaches the “Feature Complete” stage, Aurora said the Driver system will undergo an extensive validation phase, where its capabilities will be refined and readied for driverless commercial operation, set to launch in 2024. Aurora Driver Beta 5.0 is also powering Aurora’s ride-hailing fleet, which continues testing in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

For more details on Aurora and its technologies, visit its website here.

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