It was only last month that self-driving vehicle startup Aurora said it was partnering with Toyota to develop a fleet of robotaxis. The company has now announced a new agreement with Volvo to build fully autonomous semi trucks that will carry cargo across North America (via The Verge).
The two companies say they've been exploring a potential partnership since 2018, when they came together to build a prototype truck nicknamed Pistachio (above). At the time, Aurora admits its Driver technology wasn't advanced enough to safely control a vehicle as big and heavy as a semi on a highway. But with new sensor technologies Aurora acquired in 2019, the two companies believe they're now ready to build a fleet of Level 4 autonomous trucks that will travel busy hub-to-hub routes between major North American cities. In addition to helping make the vehicles, Aurora will provide logistics and operations support, using the cloud to route those trucks in the most efficient way possible.
"These trucks will combine the best of Volvo's technology with the Aurora Driver, which uniquely has the ability to detect and track objects well beyond 300 meters, into a compelling and scalable logistics platform," the company said.
Aurora is quickly becoming one of the most important players in the autonomous vehicle space. At the start of the year, the company made a splash when it gobbled up Uber's self-driving unit and secured an investment $400 million investment from the ride-hailing giant. It says it will share more information on its partnership with Volvo in the near future.