Trucking is an integral part of the economy, representing over 70 percent of freight moved in the U.S. Yet, it is dogged by driver shortages, safety issues and supply chain challenges. Pittsburgh-based Aurora Innovation is hoping to solve these problems and more by bringing self-driving technology to trucks.
“Today, if you want to take strawberries from California to Dallas, it takes about three days. With the Aurora Driver, you’ll be able to do that in about 24 hours,” says Aurora co-founder and CEO Chris Urmson.
While other autonomous trucking companies such as Starsky Robotics, Embark and TuSimple have folded or scaled back efforts in the U.S., Aurora is moving ahead and is now delivering loads for customers such as Uber Freight, FedEx, Schneider and Werner in Texas. The company is training its system with safety drivers on routes between Dallas and Houston, and Fort Worth and El Paso. It is hoping to launch without anyone in the cab by the end of 2024.
CNBC got an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at its self-driving operation outside of Dallas. Watch the video to see what a driverless future for trucks could look like.
Correction: Aurora’s second test route to El Paso is originating from Fort Worth. An earlier version misstated the start point.