Aurora Innovation, Inc. announced it has launched its first commercial-ready terminal for autonomous trucks, setting a new standard for commercial operations in the autonomous trucking industry. Aurora’s next-generation South Dallas terminal is designed with innovative features critical for driverless operations and will serve as a blueprint for Aurora’s future network of terminals.
On a daily basis, the terminal – located in Palmer, Texas – deploys autonomous trucks pulling freight for Aurora’s pilot customers, including FedEx, Schneider, and Uber Freight, between Dallas and Houston. As the company prepares for the commercial launch of Aurora Horizon, its autonomous trucking service, it will leverage a network of terminals to house, maintain, prepare, inspect, and deploy autonomous trucks between destinations.
Terminals will also be key to keeping customers’ trucks on the road to haul freight 24/7/365 – a unique value proposition of autonomous trucks. Aurora’s South Dallas terminal was designed to be commercial-ready, meaning it has features and services to enable autonomous deployment and optimize asset utilization for customers, and is in commercial use today. The terminal includes:
- Specific capabilities for driverless operations suchas sensor calibration ranges, high-speed data offload, and launching and landing zones.
- Traditional services including fueling and weigh stations to enable autonomous trucks to continuously drive without additional stops.
- On-site maintenance to optimize fleet uptime and support safe operation of trucks on the road.
Momentum toward commercial operations
In the past six months, the trailer traffic at the terminal has tripled, which mirrors Aurora’s growth in pilot hauls. Aurora is currently hauling 50 customer loads a week across its two commercial routes and expects to increase its pilot hauls to 100 loads per week by the end of 2023.
Aurora recently announced the Aurora Driver, the technology that will power its driverless trucking service, is Feature Complete. With the achievement of Feature Complete, the company enters its final phase of refinement and validation ahead of commercial launch.
As Aurora matures its commercial operations, pilot customers are receiving a complete and seamless experience from trailer drop-off to pick-up. Aurora expects its Houston terminal to be ready for commercial operation in Q3 2023, which will enable end-to-end autonomous operation on its launch lane.