Volvo taps Aurora to bring autonomous trucks to market
Ecosystem | March 30, 2021 | 2 min. read
Volvo Group, one of the largest and most trusted brands in the commercial vehicle industry, selects Aurora to accelerate the commercialization of autonomous Class 8 trucks for its customers
Since the early days of Aurora, we’ve felt a kinship with Volvo Group—a company, that for nearly 100 years, has demonstrated a deep commitment to the safety of their customers and those who share the roadway with them. We first met and began to discuss the potential for a partnership in early 2018. By late 2018, we had built our first Aurora-powered truck together, a giant green beauty we nicknamed Pistachio.
Despite our early progress, our shared values, and our common goal, both Volvo and Aurora had work to do before we could field a serious product in high-speed trucking. Aurora’s sensor suite, like the rest of the industry, could not robustly see far enough to safely drive a Class 8 truck at highway speeds; and Volvo needed to lay the groundwork for an autonomous solutions business. Driven by our interest in trucking and our desire to build an extraordinary product together, we got to work.
In 2019, Aurora acquired Blackmore and began to develop the industry’s only multi-modal sensing suite capable of safely operating large trucks at highway speeds. In 2020, we debuted FirstLight and began to deploy Class 8 trucks integrated with the next-generation of the Aurora Driver in Texas. Volvo, meanwhile, was also gearing up for a formidable play in L4 trucks, creating Volvo Autonomous Solutions—an industry-first business unit focused specifically on delivering autonomous solutions to the world.
Today, after years of patient preparation, we’re delighted to announce that Volvo Autonomous Solutions has selected Aurora as its technology provider to develop and commercialize L4 Class 8 trucks in North America.
Our first commercial truck with Volvo will be adapted to the requirements of the Aurora Driver, and tailored to the demands of an autonomous hub-to-hub use case. These trucks will combine the best of Volvo’s technology with the Aurora Driver, which uniquely has the ability to detect and track objects well beyond 300 meters, into a compelling and scalable logistics platform. As Volvo’s official technology partner, we’ll develop an unprecedented autonomous offering through Volvo’s Transport-as-a-Service to support a hub-to-hub service with one of the most trusted commercial trucking manufacturers in the world. In this model, our trucks will operate autonomously on highways between hubs for Volvo customers, and services will range from transport logistics to operational support, servicing and maintenance, cloud support (for dispatching and routing), and more.
Our partnership with Volvo has been a long time coming and hits the ground running. We’ve built the right technology and Volvo’s built the right framework. Together, we’re excited to create and commercialize a powerful set of autonomous solutions for the massive and important trucking market. As we do, we’ll look forward to sharing more on our progress in developing and delivering the industry’s most versatile and scalable Driver.
Aurora co-founder and Chief Product Officer