PITTSBURGH – Aurora Innovation, Inc. has launched Aurora Driver Beta 2.0, the second release of its integrated hardware and autonomy system. This release powers Aurora’s next-generation truck fleet and its recently unveiled Toyota Sienna test fleet. It also debuts new capabilities and critical improvements to prepare the Aurora Driver for commercial launch, including:
- Advanced highway and suburban capabilities, including more complex construction zone navigation, key for hauling freight across the country.
- Upgraded cameras with higher resolution, allowing for obstacle detection at 2x the distance.
- New commercial route between Fort Worth and El Paso supported by daily map updates.
New Autonomy Capabilities
Aurora Driver Beta 2.0 unlocks more challenging highway and suburban road capabilities, allowing the Aurora Driver to safely and reliably operate on longer commercial routes. These include:
- Seamlessly navigating complicated construction zones that require changing lanes and nudging around concrete barriers and/or cones.
- Identifying and reacting naturally to temporary speed limit and lane closure signs, construction workers and vehicles, trucks hauling oversized oil equipment, and other unique vehicles and actors commonly present in long-haul trucking.
- Performing Texas U-turns, a road configuration commonly adjacent to Interstates and an essential maneuver for terminal-to-terminal operation.
Through continued virtual and on-road testing, this release also features matured driving capabilities released in Beta 1.0, such as unprotected left turns, high-speed merges, and lane changes.
Higher Camera Resolution for Earlier Detection
Aurora Driver Beta 2.0 features upgraded cameras with 4x the amount of pixels. The higher resolution of the Beta 2.0 camera suite gives the Aurora Driver 4x more camera data to ingest, allowing it to see the same level of detail at 2x the distance. Combined with Aurora’s FirstLight lidar and imaging radar, these high-resolution, long-range cameras allow the Aurora Driver to perceive and react to distant objects like road debris, vehicles on the shoulder, construction zones, and more, resulting in extremely reliable and safe operation on highways.
Launching a New Commercial Route with Enhanced Mapping for Daily Maintenance
Aurora Driver Beta 2.0 includes several advances that enhance its ability to operate on long-haul routes like Fort Worth to El Paso. This lane is the middle leg between Atlanta to Los Angeles, one of the busiest commercial thoroughfares in the U.S. The Aurora Driver is delivering commercial freight on this route on a weekly basis.
The system is designed to handle the unexpected. As Aurora Driver-powered vehicles navigate commercial routes, Aurora’s HD mapping system, the Aurora Atlas, continuously updates to reflect new construction, fresh lane markings, vegetation growth, and more. These updates are shared across Aurora’s fleet of trucks and minivans. Now, with stronger tooling and data pipelines, the Aurora Atlas releases updates in hours, giving all vehicles powered by the Aurora Driver up-to-date and reliable information about the state of the road.
One Driver to Power Aurora’s Cars and Trucks
The Aurora Driver 2.0 is the first version that is powering the vehicle platforms that are expected to launch both Aurora Horizon, its trucking product, and Aurora Connect, its ride-hailing product. Aurora’s Common Core of Technology enables the intelligence and learnings from its trucks to easily adapt to its minivans.
“Aurora Driver Beta 2.0 represents an incremental yet critical milestone in our path to launching an end-to-end autonomous product that can safely move both freight and people,” said Chris Urmson, Aurora CEO and Co-Founder. “Whether we’re hauling goods for FedEx or preparing to take passengers to the airport, we’re seeing our technology evolve into a valuable product, and that’s exciting.”