A few self-driving trucks on the road may reveal wondrous, innovative new technology. But to deliver broad societal benefit—making our roads safer, our supply chains faster and more efficient, and ultimately better access to mobility and goods for everyone—you need a critical ingredient: scale.
Scaling makes innovation accessible—and access drives societal transformation.
Today, Aurora Driver-powered class 8 trucks haul commercial freight on public roads in Texas. But this progress is but a taste of its potential. To truly revolutionize the transportation space, the self-driving industry needed a force multiplier to scale this technology broadly.
And Aurora has found that partner. Recently, we announced a long-term partnership with Continental—a global technology company and automotive supplier—to bring self-driving technology on a commercial scale by jointly developing, manufacturing, and servicing future generations of the Aurora Driver’s hardware. Continental will also contribute a new fallback system.
Delivering commercial scale
Our partnership will break down into the following core responsibilities:
Manufacturing of Aurora Driver hardware: Continental and Aurora will develop, manufacture, and assemble the Aurora Driver hardware, which includes technologies such as automotive lidar, radar, cameras, and high-performance computers. As part of this work, Continental will also industrialize these systems, meaning, the process of strengthening its reliability and assembly design in preparation for large-scale manufacturing.
Focus on safety: Continental will develop a new fallback system, bringing new levels of safety to self-driving vehicles. In the unlikely event of a failure in the primary autonomy system, the fallback system is designed to ensure a driverless truck can continue the driving task until it reaches a safe position.
Integrating and supplying with manufacturers: Both organizations will work with vehicle manufacturing partners to ramp up the production of vehicles integrated with the Aurora Driver hardware and fallback systems, align production schedules, and design for ease of lineside installation.
Servicing and maintenance: Customers will be able to leverage Continental’s depth of expertise to address customer service, maintenance, and warranty needs related to the Aurora Driver hardware. Once the Aurora Driver hardware has completed its product lifecycle, Continental will be responsible for its decommissioning, salvaging, and replacement.
Initial development efforts are already underway to achieve key milestones in support of production ramping up in 2027.
Validation of an emerging industry
Until this point, the emerging self-driving industry has had the twin challenge of both developing the technology, while also trying to scale it in a meaningful way. Aurora’s partnership with Continental addresses both these issues through an innovative industry-first approach.
Traditional business models operate with assembly manufacturers paying for parts as they go. Continental and Aurora’s partnership will operate as a hardware-as-a-service business model. This means both Continental and Aurora’s revenue will come from the miles driven by our product.
In other words, we’re both invested in our customers’ success—and we all win when our vehicles’ wheels are moving. This partnership represents a massive validation in Continental, Aurora, and the future of autonomous vehicles.
Earning customers' confidence
Today’s freight industry is strained by a combination of network inefficiency, labor shortages, collisions, hours of service limitations, and driver turnover. We believe self-driving technology can address these challenges.
The partnership between Aurora and Continental marks a powerful statement in our commitment to building a product based on the needs of our freight and future ride-hailing customers.
Together, we plan to create a product with tremendous value over the coming years: safe, efficient, and reliable autonomous trucking that will improve road safety, increase fleet utilization, and reduce operating costs. And over time, we’ll leverage this remarkable technology to strengthen the passenger mobility space, increasing safety, accessibility, and comfort.
Continental brings more than 150 years of industrial powerhouse experience, with a massive automotive product portfolio. Additionally, Aurora’s work with some of the most reputable auto manufacturers in the world ensures that customers will have the highest levels of support, expertise, and focus on safety.
Together, we can transform the transportation ecosystem, make our roads safer, and pave the way for an autonomous future.
This article contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the United States federal securities laws. All statements contained in this article that do not relate to matters of historical fact should be considered forward-looking statements, including but not limited to: those statements around Aurora’s and Continental’s ability to develop, bring to market, manufacture, and scale, autonomous systems and related products and services on the timeframe we expect or at all; statements relating to anticipated market demand for, and cost efficiencies resulting from, autonomous trucking solutions; and statements regarding the impact of autonomous driving systems on customer operations. These statements are based on the current assumptions of Aurora’s and Continental’s management and are neither promises nor guarantees, but involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that may cause our actual performance or achievements to be materially different from any future performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. For factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements in this article, please see the risks and uncertainties identified under the heading “Risk Factors” section of Aurora’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022, filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on February 21, 2023, and other documents filed by Aurora from time to time with the SEC, which are accessible on the SEC website at www.sec.gov. All forward-looking statements reflect Aurora’s and Continental’s beliefs and assumptions only as of the date of this article. Aurora and Continental undertake no obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect future events or circumstances.