Aurora Details Rollout Plans, Readies Nasdaq Trading

Aurora Connect
Aurora Innovation Inc.

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Self-driving commercial vehicle developer Aurora Innovation Inc. has released details on how it will bring its technology to market, starting with autonomous trucking services in 2023.

“As we prepare to launch our first commercial products, we’ve designed simple, application-specific product suites to integrate seamlessly within our customers’ businesses and empower their operations,” the Mountain View, Calif., company said in an Oct. 13 blog post.

The company will call its overall trucking product Aurora Horizon, and said the service will be “built to move goods 24/7.” The company calls its underlying automated system Aurora Driver, and is designing it for use by motor carriers, private fleets and ride-hailing networks.

Many of the building blocks for Aurora Horizon are being tested now in a pilot that includes Paccar Inc. and FedEx Corp. The companies Sept. 21 started using a Paccar tractor equipped with self-driving technology to haul FedEx loads between Dallas and Houston, a 500-mile round trip, along the I-45 corridor.

Although the truck drives itself, the test program has a safety driver in the cab, ready to take over operations if needed. The goal is to eventually remove the human backup from the cab.

“Aurora Horizon will provide carriers and private fleets with a reliable and scalable driver supply powered by the Aurora Driver and a powerful suite of tools designed to integrate these vehicles with existing operations and maximize their uptime,” the company said.

Aurora is developing its technology to sell as a service.

The Aurora Horizon suite will include:

  • Aurora Driver — the hardware, software and data services needed to safely operate an Aurora-powered car or truck without a safety driver.
  • Aurora Beacon — the mission control system that will integrate with a carrier or network’s system and app to communicate dispatching and routing, monitor vehicle health and handle incident response.
  • Aurora Shield — a roadside assistance program and extended support designed to streamline service and maintenance and maximize the uptime of vehicles equipped with Aurora Driver.

The company is developing similar technology for the ride-hailing business. It is calling that service Aurora Connect. That system will enable vehicles with Aurora Driver to integrate with ride-hailing networks. It is designed to “provide ride-hailing networks with a predictable and reliable supply of Aurora-powered vehicles that can respond to fluctuating demand,” the company said.

Aurora Connect will provide the same Driver, Beacon and Shield products of the autonomous trucking service, the company said.

Meanwhile, Aurora is getting ready to start trading on Nasdaq as part of a reverse merger with Reinvent Technology Partners Y, a special purpose acquisition company. A Reinvent shareholder vote to complete the transaction is scheduled for Nov. 2. The deal would close the following day.

Reinvent will change its name to Aurora Innovation Inc. Common stock and warrants of the combined company are expected to begin trading Nov. 4 on Nasdaq under the ticker symbols “AUR” and “AUROW,” respectively.

The deal represents an equity value of $11 billion for Aurora, and the combined company will be valued at $13 billion, according to a July 15 statement. The company is expected to have about $2.5 billion in cash at closing.

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