AURORA RELEASES AURORA DRIVER BETA 5.0, AS COMPANY ADVANCES TOWARD COMMERCIAL LAUNCH
>> Beta release reveals key updates and critical progress on the Aurora Driver as it nears "Feature Complete" milestone, including the capability to respond to emergency vehicles
PITTSBURGH - Today, Aurora Innovation, Inc. released Aurora Driver Beta 5.0, the latest version of its integrated hardware and autonomy system, to its autonomous trucking fleet in Texas. With a more performant Aurora Driver, Aurora advances toward commercial launch and continues to increase its weekly hauls of freight for pilot customers like FedEx, Uber Freight, Werner, and Schneider.
Safe and reliable autonomous driving, while being courteous and also handling the nuances of the road, is essential to launch commercial operations at scale. Aurora Driver Beta 5.0 unlocks key safety-critical and increasingly complex highway driving capabilities, enabling the Aurora Driver to autonomously operate in more scenarios. These new capabilities include:
1. Detecting and appropriately responding to emergency vehicles like ambulances, fire engines, and law enforcement vehicles.
2. Safely re-entering traffic after resolving a system problem that prompted the Aurora Driver to pull over to the shoulder.
3. Navigating lanes with temporary barriers, a typical scenario in construction zones.
Advancing toward "Feature Complete"
The Aurora Driver is the autonomy system that underpins Aurora Horizon, Aurora’s subscription-based autonomous trucking service. Aurora’s quarterly beta releases debut new capabilities of the Aurora Driver, which are reflected in the Aurora Horizon roadmap to commercial launch, and bring the system closer to "Feature Complete." Aurora expects to reach "Feature Complete" at the end of Q1 2023, which will indicate the capabilities required for commercial launch have been implemented in the Aurora Driver and all policy interventions have been removed.
"We are already demonstrating the value an autonomous trucking product can bring to our pilot customers as we continue to deliver loads across Texas each day," said Chris Urmson, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Aurora. "Launching our latest beta release moves Aurora one step closer to a commercial-ready product and helps to prepare us for the scaled deployment of Aurora Horizon across the country."
In the past year, Aurora introduced five beta releases, each one bringing Aurora closer to commercial launch. The initial beta release introduced foundational driving capabilities such as merging and lane-changing at highway speed and unprotected left-hand turns. Aurora built upon these in 2022, unlocking increasingly complex capabilities each quarter, including:
> Beta 2.0: Construction zone navigation – reacting to temporary signs that signal temporary speed limits, closed lanes, and the presence of construction workers.
> Beta 3.0: Fault Management System (FMS) – identifying and responding to a system problem by safely pulling over to the shoulder.
> Beta 4.0: Unexpected and potentially dangerous situations – circumventing debris on the road.
After reaching "Feature Complete," the Aurora Driver will then undergo an extensive validation phase where its capabilities will be refined and readied for driverless commercial operation, set to launch in 2024. Aurora Driver Beta 5.0 is also powering Aurora’s ride-hailing fleet, which continues testing in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.