We announced that the Dallas to Houston route will be our inaugural launch lane for the commercial operation of our Aurora Horizon autonomous trucking service. In preparation, we are currently hauling loads between Dallas and Houston for several of our pilot customers including Schneider, FedEx, and Uber Freight.
Scaling our customer deliveries
We exceeded our customer delivery target for Q4 2022 by hauling more than 30 loads per week for our pilot customers including FedEx, Werner, Schneider, and Uber Freight. What’s more, though we’re currently only halfway through Q1 2023, we have already achieved our goal for the quarter of hauling 40 loads per week.
That puts us at a total of 1,150 autonomously delivered loads (under the supervision of vehicle operators). To get these loads to our pilot customers with 98% on-time performance, Aurora Driver-powered trucks drove more than 324k miles.
This ramp-up in our commercial operations has allowed us to deliver more value to our customers, practice commercially-representative operations, and offset some of our development and validation costs.
How we’ll enable 24/7/365 operations
We announced an on-site fleet maintenance pilot with Ryder, a leader in fleet, supply chain, and transportation management solutions, to unlock around-the-clock operations. With Ryder technicians performing inspections and repairs at our terminal in South Dallas, Aurora Horizon customers will benefit from reduced truck downtime and increased asset utilization.
Building scalable commercial trucks
For the first time, we demonstrated a prototype of our proprietary FirstLight Lidar using our designed-in-house silicon photonics chip. The chip is the size of a fingernail, and it has demonstrated the compatibility of our silicon photonics technology and our lidar architecture. This prototype is a key step toward fully integrated and fiberless FirstLight Lidar that is affordable and reliable at scale.
Autonomy-enabled trucks are in the works
In collaboration with PACCAR, we completed the build of a prototype autonomous truck platform designed for commercial scalability. This build verifies that the Aurora Driver’s hardware interfaces with the Peterbilt 579 truck platform, meaning sleek Aurora Driver-powered 579s will be positioned to hit the road someday soon.
We continue to work with Volvo Autonomous Solutions to develop an autonomous VNL featuring the new or enhanced control interfaces, braking, steering, and power systems to achieve the reliability needed for safe driverless operations.
Collecting capabilities for safe commercialization
This beta release also included performance improvements for previously unlocked capabilities, such as handling road debris—something Aurora Driver-powered trucks have to do every day while hauling loads for Aurora Horizon pilot customers. Our improved detection, especially in conditions where visibility is degraded, resulted in approximately 70% fewer vehicle operator interventions due to road debris.
These performance improvements and new capabilities bring the Aurora Driver within arm’s reach of our Feature Complete milestone, which we expect to achieve by the end of Q1 2023. Once the Aurora Driver is Feature Complete, we will have implemented all of the capabilities that are necessary to enable safe operations on Aurora Horizon’s Dallas to Houston launch lane and removed all of the policy interventions.
We then expect to enter the final phase of refining the Aurora Driver’s performance and completing the necessary validation to close the Aurora Driver Safety Case for our commercial launch lane—a milestone we call Aurora Driver Ready.
We made remarkable progress in Q4 2022, and we are already off to an incredible start in 2023. In fact, we autonomously hauled our 1,000th customer load in early January, and in early February, we were honored by LexisNexis® Intellectual Property Solutions as one of the companies leading the future of science and technology in its “Innovation Momentum 2023: The Global Top 100” intellectual property report.
2023 is going to be a pivotal year for Aurora as we continue to execute against our plan to achieve feature completion, close the Aurora Driver Safety Case for our launch lane, and prepare to commercially launch Aurora Horizon by the end of 2024. We look forward to sharing more later this year!