Our blueprint for launching our ride-hailing business in 2024
Aurora Connect | July 29, 2021 | 2 min. read
Designing the Aurora Driver to accommodate multiple vehicle types allows for seamless and “additive” technical development. Thanks to this “common core” of our product, our ride-hailing business is already spring-loaded to quickly follow our 2023 trucking launch. In other words, getting picked up in an autonomous Toyota Sienna might happen sooner than you think.
Sterling Anderson, our Chief Product Officer, recently unpacked how we plan to address both markets so rapidly, and why that’s critical in delivering on our mission. Here’s our game plan for launching a ride-hailing service in 2024 with Uber and Toyota.
1. Autonomous ride-sharing will be a massive market that outgrows that of trucking.
2. Our 10-year agreement to receive Uber’s data gives us a unique competitive advantage. For example, we’ve already leveraged Uber’s detailed marketplace data to:
Select the city locations of our first launch;
Prioritize our development roadmap—we know what trips are most popular and where they take place (for example, rides to the airport), and what roadways are most frequently traversed; and
Develop tools to optimize our fleet positioning, including pick-up and drop-off zones.
3. The farther you can see, the faster you can go. The Aurora Driver’s “common core” allows all of our vehicles to leverage FirstLight Lidar to operate at highway speeds. Since a significant number of ride-hailing trips use a freeway or hit at least 50 mph, our ride-hailing product will benefit from our trucks’ freeway-focused experiences and we’ll be able to target lucrative trips to the airport.
When we say the “common core” of the Aurora Driver, we’re referring to our hardware, software, infrastructure, and development tools—all of which are designed to work across multiple vehicle types. This means that every learning, every development, every hardware improvement, or cost reduction accrues to all vehicles and applications, like trucking or ride-hailing.
This makes our development of the Aurora Driver far more efficient. For example, one software update—like the ability to safely respond to emergency vehicles, which will be added in the near future—will instantly go to both our Class 8 trucks and minivans. It's also why starting in trucks benefits our rides product: experience and scale in trucking are inherited by our ride-hailing product, and vice-versa with future developments in ride-hailing.
4. Launching the Aurora Driver with partners like Uber will make every ride cheaper. A hybrid model of human-driven and autonomous rides will reduce trip costs to as cheap as $1 a mile (prices are currently 3-4x that), making ride-hailing more affordable than owning a car.
5. With the support of the largest passenger car manufacturer in the world, our fleet of autonomous Toyota Siennas will offer riders a personalized customer experience, accelerate electrification, and, most importantly, save lives.
Counting down to 2024
The sheer size and opportunity autonomous ride-hailing presents is no secret. As we work toward commercializing our autonomous trucks in 2023, we’re thoughtfully laying the commercial and technical foundation to enable a “fast follow” passenger car launch in 2024. With support, collaboration, and insights from our partners Uber and Toyota, two of the world's biggest mobility players, we are preparing to launch and scale a profitable business that provides an incredible experience for riders. We look forward to sharing more soon.
Delivering the benefits of self-driving technology safely, quickly, and broadly.