Continental to manage complete hardware lifecycle, a key element to unlocking long-term commercial scale for future hardware generations of the Aurora Driver
Frankfurt, Germany and Pittsburgh, USA—April 27, 2023—Today Continental and Aurora Innovation, Inc. (NASDAQ: AUR) announced an industry-first partnership to deliver the commercially scalable, future generation of Aurora’s flagship integrated hardware and software system—the Aurora Driver. Leaning on more than 150 years of expertise and its global manufacturing footprint, Continental plans to industrialize the Aurora Driver hardware and help broaden adoption of Aurora’s autonomous trucking service. Combined with Aurora’s existing vehicle manufacturer partnerships, this first-of-its-kind, innovative partnership will help Aurora achieve the commercial scale and cost structure necessary to execute on its mission to deliver the benefits of self-driving technology safely, quickly, and broadly.
“At Continental, we are proud to demonstrate our leading technology expertise by being responsible for the development, manufacturing and implementation of the autonomous driving system kits and the fallback path for Aurora’s autonomy system,” said Nikolai Setzer, CEO of Continental. “In this exclusive partnership, we bundle our systems competence with Aurora’s industry-leading autonomous technology for our common goal to jointly realize the first commercially scalable autonomous trucking systems. A crucial step towards autonomous mobility.”
“Delivering autonomous vehicles at scale has the potential to dramatically transform modern transportation, bringing new accessibility, safety and efficiency to the movement of goods and people,” said Chris Urmson, co-founder and CEO at Aurora. “Continental's legacy in development and industrialization of automated driving systems, combined with its commitment to transform transportation make it an ideal partner for Aurora. Their depth of expertise will be pivotal to scaling Aurora’s autonomous trucking solution, Aurora Horizon.”
Building a business for commercial scale
To industrialize the Aurora Driver, Continental will leverage its extensive automotive product portfolio to develop, manufacture, manage, and deliver a variety of equipment, including automotive radar, cameras, and high-performance computers. Continental will integrate these hardware components into pods that will be supplied to Aurora’s vehicle manufacturing partners.
Within the exclusive partnership, Continental will develop a new fallback system for the Aurora Driver with improved system reliability and cost. In the unlikely event of a failure in the primary autonomy system, a fallback system is designed to ensure a driverless truck can continue the driving task until it reaches a safe position. Continental will also manage the complete lifecycle of the autonomous hardware kits and provide maintenance procedures as well as services for Aurora Driver-powered trucks in the field.
The Aurora Driver combined with Aurora Services deliver Aurora Horizon, the company's subscription trucking service expected to launch in 2024. Through Aurora Horizon, carriers and fleet operators will be able to utilize a safe, more reliable, predictable, and cost-efficient driver service to supplement human driver supply. Continental and Aurora have agreed upon a hardware-as-a-service business structure with a goal of delivering maximum up-time and value to customers. The products being developed in this partnership are expected to launch initially in the U.S. commercial vehicle market in 2027.
This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the United States federal securities laws. All statements contained in this press release 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 press release, 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 press release. Aurora and Continental undertake no obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect future events or circumstances.