- Aurora and Uber Freight added an autonomous route in Texas to help with peak season, according to a news release Friday.
- The 600-mile route between Fort Worth and El Paso will require vehicle operators behind the wheel, but Aurora expects to remove the operator at the end of 2024, Aurora spokesperson Rachel Chibidakis said in an email to Transport Dive.
- Sterling Anderson, Aurora co-founder chief product officer, noted in the release that its autonomous trucking service, Aurora Horizon, wants the tech to haul loads every day of the year with Uber Freight and “help carriers of all sizes alleviate some of the supply chain pressures that typically accompany them.”
A partnership between Aurora and Uber Freight for autonomous truck hauling began in December 2021, and the extension is one piece of commercial partnerships helping the tech firm reach scale.
Aurora’s commercial pilots have included customers such as FedEx, Werner and Schneider. The company’s loads per week reached a goal of 22 at the end of Q2, Aurora CEO, President and Director Chris Urmson said on a Nov. 2 earnings call.
Aurora is looking to eventually have 100 loads per week by the time of its commercial launch in late 2024, according to an investor presentation.
“We continue to scale our operations, achieving our commercial load booking target and expanding our pilot with Uber Freight,” Urmson said on the earnings call.
Aurora is no stranger to the Fort Worth to El Paso autonomous route. It brought two new terminals online to service the lane and announced a partnership with Werner for that route to start in April 2022.
Meanwhile, carriers have showed high interest in autonomous trucking — and not just with one particular tech startup: Companies such as Schneider, U.S. Xpress and Werner, for example, formed partnerships with multiple AV companies.
For Uber Freight customers like Veritiv, which seeks to benefit from the extended agreement with Aurora, the technology is a way to evaluate the changing landscape.
“This autonomous vehicle pilot aligns with our strategy to assess new technologies to determine the best fit for our business and our customers,” Mike Walkenhorst, senior vice president of global operations and developing businesses for Veritiv, said in the news release. “We are proud to be at the forefront of testing this technology.”