Aurora forges forward on trucking, highlights safety as passenger autonomy struggles

Aurora is flexing its safety and transparency achievements ahead of a commercial launch that could extend its lead in the autonomous vehicle industry as the passenger side of the market struggles.

The Pittsburgh company said its software is almost completely ready for a commercial launch by the end of 2024 — a milestone that will allow Aurora to remove backup human drivers from about 20 autonomous trucks hauling freight along I-45 in Texas. Recent testing has shown the trucks to be safer than human drivers in some instances, CEO Chris Urmson detailed in an investor call last week.

In one case, at an intersection in Houston, Aurora’s software predicted that a red pickup truck would run a red light and slowed the Aurora truck down to avoid a collision, Mr. Urmson said. Other vehicles were “not as quick to react,” he said, and proceeded through the intersection, where they were hit by the pickup.

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