Aurora Innovation, Uber Freight Launch Driverless Program

Premier Autonomy Program Is Designed to Provide Carriers With Early Path to Purchase, Onboard Autonomous Capabilities
Uber Freight Aurora truck
Uber Freight and Aurora began partnering to pilot autonomous technologies in the beginning of 2020. (Business Wire)

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Uber Freight and Aurora Innovation are launching a program aimed at providing carriers with early access to over a billion miles of driverless deliveries, the companies announced June 25.

Called Premier Autonomy, the service is designed to provide carriers with an early and streamlined path to purchase and deploy autonomous capabilities, the companies said. The initiative aims to build utilization of autonomous trucks through integration of the Aurora Driver technology with the Uber Freight platform. It’s the latest evolution in a partnership between the two companies to integrate and deploy autonomous technologies.

“Uber Freight and Aurora see a tremendous opportunity to democratize autonomous trucks for carriers of all sizes, enabling them to drive more revenue, scale their fleets and strengthen their bottom lines,” Uber Freight CEO Lior Ron said. “Autonomous trucks will make moving goods more efficient, and this industry-first program will help facilitate and accelerate the adoption of autonomous trucks with our carriers.”

Uber Freight ranks No. 13 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.

Uber Freight and Aurora began partnering to pilot autonomous technologies in the beginning of 2020. This Premier Autonomy program builds on insights gained since then regarding the effective and autonomous movement of goods, the companies said.

Lior Ron


Through the program, Aurora is providing early access to autonomous deliveries to participating Uber Freight carriers through 2030. Uber Freight will be one of Aurora’s first customers on its Dallas-to-Houston freight route.

“We’ve had a longtime partnership with Uber,” said Zac Andreoni, vice president of business development at Aurora. “We hauled our very first commercial trailer with Uber Freight in 2021. So this is a long-standing partnership, and this really represents an evolution of that into something bigger. So we’re really excited about it.”

Aurora said the scale and density of the Uber Freight network make it ideal for autonomous truck deployment. “It’s not a secret that the freight market is in recession. There’s overcapacity, prices are depressed, costs are up and the promise of AV is to deliver this supercharged asset that can run more efficiently in excess of hours of service,” Andreoni said. “So it’s already a pretty compelling value proposition. With our program, if you’re a middle-market carrier who’s been wondering how you’re going to get your hands on it, this is it.”

Aurora plans to continue moving loads for Uber Freight in the short term with the eventual aim of decoupling from the asset side of the business.

Zac Andreoni


“We’re still pursuing our commercial launch and removal of the driver by the end of this year, so we expect to haul driverless for our customers after that as a third-party carrier,” Andreoni said. “So we’ll own assets, and we’ll operate them for our customers as any third-party carrier would, and the economies will reflect that. But that’s really a temporary model.”

Andreoni explained that Aurora’s long-term model revolves around carriers purchasing an autonomous vehicle asset from one of its manufacturing partners and subscribing to Aurora technology.

“That’s going to be an interesting experience for carriers — it’s not like owning a truck today,” he said. “So part of this program will ready them for that ownership experience, which we expect to take place beginning in ’26 or ’27. But it’s going to take a while to get them prepared or onboarded. We have to make sure that their network is ready.”

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