What’s happening: Tech companies Continental and Aurora Innovation are teaming up to deliver the first commercially scalable generation of Aurora’s proprietary integrated hardware and software system, the Aurora Driver, targeting the trucking industry. The partnership will see Continental and Aurora jointly design, develop, validate, deliver, and service the system, set to be available to carriers and commercial fleet operators across the U.S. The initiative aims to cut costs, facilitating broader adoption.
Why it matters: This partnership could prove transformative for the trucking industry, potentially improving safety, reducing fuel consumption, and speeding up delivery times. Autonomous trucks, capable of round-the-clock operation, could significantly shorten delivery times and reduce fuel consumption. The collaboration could also potentially impact travel safety positively, as autonomous vehicles could help to lower the high annual global death toll on roadways. The first production start is slated for 2027.
- Continental will utilize its decades of experience to industrialize the Aurora Driver and deliver the entire hardware set, including a new fallback system, designed to ensure driverless trucks can continue driving until reaching a safe position in the event of primary autonomy system failure.
- The partnership will also see Continental manage the complete lifecycle of its supplied autonomous hardware kits for the Aurora Driver, from manufacturing to decommissioning.
- Aurora is set to launch its subscription trucking service, Aurora Horizon, underpinned by the Aurora Driver, in 2024.
- Continental’s CEO, Nikolai Setzer, lauded the partnership as a crucial step towards autonomous mobility. Aurora’s CEO, Chris Urmson, also voiced his optimism, acknowledging Continental’s expertise as pivotal to scaling Aurora’s autonomous trucking service, Aurora Horizon.
- In this unique partnership, Continental will provide autonomous driving system kits, leveraging its extensive automotive product portfolio from sensors to high performance computers, to a complete fallback system.
- Continental and Aurora have agreed on a hardware-as-a-service business model, based on mileage driven, to deliver safe, reliable, and commercially scalable autonomous driving systems to customers via the Aurora Horizon platform.
Bottom Line: The partnership between Continental and Aurora could pave the way for a new era in the trucking industry, marked by increased safety, efficiency, and scalability. Given the current strain on global supply chains, the need for such innovative solutions is apparent. This collaboration could potentially help address the current driver shortage while also reducing fuel consumption and delivery times, providing a much-needed boost to the industry.