Dueling approaches to AI in autonomous trucking

Autonomous trucking pioneer Chris Urmson and relative latecomer Raquel Urtasun see AI as critical to making autonomous trucking successful. But they do not see eye to eye on the best way to apply it…

When Uber sold its Advanced Technologies Group to Aurora in January 2021, Urtasun was Uber ATG chief scientist and head of research and development. She and Urmson know each other’s work but never worked together directly. Urtasun also has been a professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto for the past decade.

Aurora is the acknowledged leader in autonomous truck development. It has the financing in place and has checked nearly every box to start commercial operations with 20 driverless trucks as soon as the end of this year.

It struggled for a time. Urmson in 2022 looked at the possibility of selling the business to Apple or Microsoft.

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