Aurora to Open Autonomous Houston-to-Dallas Route

Launch Is Planned for Next Year
Aurora truck
Aurora autonomous truck outside Aurora's new Houston terminal designed to support and service driverless trucks at a commercial scale. (Aurora)

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Driving behind the blue big rigs, a person wouldn’t immediately realize what makes Aurora’s trucks unique.

But if they came around and got a look in the cockpit, they would see not a driver, but a computer. Thanks to a small but sophisticated array of cameras and sensors, Aurora trucks are about to start frequent trips from Houston to Dallas.

The freight company announced Nov. 1 the completion of a Houston terminal that finalizes the first commercial-ready route for driverless trucks. The first rides are still planned for late next year.

“With this corridor’s launch, we’ve defined, refined and validated the framework for the expansion of our network with the largest partner ecosystem in the autonomous trucking industry,” Sterling Anderson, co-founder and chief product officer, said in a statement.

Like its Dallas counterpart, completed in April, the Houston terminal is designed to maximize the trucks’ time on the road. It includes typical roadside features like weigh stations and maintenance and more high-tech components like sensor calibration and high-speed data offload.

It is located in a logistics hub near pilot customers like FedEx for assistance with middle-mile operations. The route down Interstate 45 is one of the most popular in Texas.

Aurora’s fleet is supported by an operational command center with a team of “remote specialists” who monitor and provide guidance to the trucks.

The company expects to operate the terminals day and night to support 75 commercial loads a week.

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