Another Driverless Tech Company to Test Self-Driving Semi-Trucks in Texas
Dallas, TX – Texas is quickly becoming the driverless vehicle testing capital of America, as yet another driverless technology maker is heading to the Lonestar State.
On Monday, Aurora announced it will soon be testing its driverless semi-trucks and fleet of Chrysler Pacifica mini-vans in the Dallas-Forth Worth area.
Aurora calls its self-driving technology platform the “Aurora Driver.”
The autonomous startup is founded by Chris Urmson, who is the former lead engineer for Google’s self-driving project, now called Waymo.
In a blog post, the company said it is most focused on bringing commercial Class 8 trucks to market.
“Our first commercial product will be in trucking — where the market is largest today, the unit economics are best, and the level of service requirements is most accommodating,” a statement said. “Our early focus on the complexities of surface street driving accelerates our ability to handle the hardest aspects of trucking. While this investment takes time on the front end, its payoff can’t be underestimated.”
So, why Texas?
Aurora explained that it views Texas as “a natural place” to test its self-driving technology.
“With more public road miles than any other state, Texas understands that self-driving technology will have a critical safety impact for those who drive on its roads. Because of its open regulatory environment and pro-business policies, it is an ideal place to work with our government partners and bring innovative technologies that will decrease road fatalities and make our roads safer,” the company said.
Aurora now joins competitors like TuSimple and Waymo in testing its autonomous vehicles on Texas roadways.
Raised More Than $690 Million So Far
Aurora has raised more than $690 million in funding to date.
Most notably, Amazon led a funding round with an undisclosed investment in February of 2019.
“Autonomous technology has the potential to help make the jobs of our employees and partners safer and more productive, whether it’s in a fulfillment center or on the road, and we’re excited about the possibilities,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement at the time.
Aurora raked in over a half billion dollars in that round, according to reports.
The company now has offices in Palo Alto, CA; San Francisco, CA; Pittsburgh, PA; and Bozeman, MT.