HOUSTON — Aurora Innovation has opened the industry’s first lane for driverless trucks supported by commercial-ready terminals in Dallas and Houston. Nearly half of all truck freight in Texas moves along the I-45 between Dallas and Houston, making this corridor an ideal route for Aurora’s commercial launch.
Similar to its first terminal in South Dallas, Aurora’s new terminal in Houston is designed to support and service driverless trucks at a commercial scale, according to a news release.
“Opening a driverless trucking lane flanked by commercially-ready terminals is an industry-first that unlocks our ability to launch our driverless trucking product,” said Sterling Anderson, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at Aurora. “With this corridor’s launch, we’ve defined, refined, and validated the framework for the expansion of our network with the largest partner ecosystem in the autonomous trucking industry.”
Aurora uses terminals to house, maintain, prepare, inspect and deploy autonomous trucks between destinations. The company has developed an innovative terminal blueprint to implement a layout and list of features that make its terminals commercial-ready for the launch of driverless operations.
Aurora’s terminal blueprint is designed to maximize the time autonomous trucks are on the road hauling freight. For example, on-site weigh stations support enhanced pre-trip inspections, which ensure Aurora’s trucks are compliant with regulatory standards while allowing them to bypass inspection sites on the road. This promotes safe operations and results in a more efficient trip with fewer stops.
Aurora picks its terminal locations with its customers in mind. Aurora’s Houston terminal is located in a logistics hub near its pilot customers, including FedEx and others. This proximity to customers makes it easy to seamlessly integrate autonomous trucks into their middle-mile operations.
Aurora is also preparing its Command Center to support around-the-clock commercial operations. Aurora’s Command Center includes a team of remote specialists who monitor and provide guidance to the active fleet of Aurora-powered trucks, and dispatchers who allocate trucks, trailers, and vehicle operators to missions. Aurora’s Command Center already supports commercial pilot hauls and is prepared to support driverless missions.
“Bringing our commercial-ready terminals and services online a year ahead of our planned commercial driverless launch between Dallas and Houston enables us to focus next year on integrating our Driver-ready trucks into our customers’ operations,” added Anderson.
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