As many as 20 Aurora Innovation autonomous trucks could begin regularly delivering freight without a human operator aboard by the end of 2024.
That’s what the tech company’s CFO, David Maday, said at a Barclays investor conference last week. Aurora Innovation is moving toward delivering commercial freight on tractor-trailers using autonomous technology, targeting a launch by the end of next year.
Aurora already delivers over 75 commercial loads per week for pilot customers, using human operators onboard.
“We're going to continue to do exactly what we're doing today,” Maday said. “We're just going to do it without a human operator.”
The potential for the technology to reduce labor costs could be significant. According to one study, 25-ton autonomous trucks in middle-mile routes could reduce traditional costs by as much as 50% in a best-case scenario and around 24% in a worst-case scenario.
Possible benefits have already drawn interest from major players who are partnering with Aurora, according to an investor presentation. Such carriers include FedEx, Hirschbach Motor Lines, Schneider National, Werner Enterprises and Uber Freight.
For Aurora, the commercial launch will be a lane between Dallas and Houston, but that’s just the beginning.
“After we launch we will continue to expand both the number of loads that we do between Dallas to Houston lane,” Maday said. “But then we will focus on expanding to the Fort Worth-El Paso lane as well.”