Continental and Aurora are showcasing the promise of autonomous trucking at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), barely a week after announcing they finalized the design of the Level 4 Aurora Driver system and will begin producing it in 2027.
In addition to manufacturing the systems, Continental engineering teams will develop the all-important fallback system that will operate one of the highly autonomous trucks if the primary system fails.
The company will also apply expertise in several product areas, including sensors, automated driving control units, high-performance computers, and telematics units. Hardware and fallback systems will be shipped to Aurora’s manufacturing partners to integrate into autonomous-ready vehicles.
“We are putting our expertise together in order to design, to develop, to validate, to launch and to service scalable, autonomous trucking solutions,” said Aruna Anand, Continental’s president and CEO of automotive for North America. “Conti, in this partnership, is delivering autonomous, scalable driving kits – and this driving kit has got a spectrum of our portfolio in there.”
“From Day 1, we knew we’d need to build a strong ecosystem of partners to bring this technology to market safely and at a commercial scale,” Aurora co-founder and CEO Chris Urmson said. “Finalizing the design of our future hardware is a meaningful step toward making the unit economics of the Aurora Driver compelling and building a business for the long-term.”
Aurora is already working with the likes of FedEx, Ryder, Schneider, Uber, and Werner, as well as OEMs Paccar and Volvo Trucks to make that business a reality. And its technology has moved about 37 million lb. of freight so far.
An unnamed OEM partner will also deliver a fully autonomous-ready truck platform in the next year, he added, referring to 2024 as a “pivotal” point in the rollout.
“The last six years, seven years, have been about building technology. And the years after next will be about how do we scale and grow our business and having more customers using it,” Urmson said. “This next year will be the one where the magic happens – where we go from telling the story of what automated vehicles will do for transportation, to actually seeing it and realizing it around the world.”
Added Philipp von Hirschheydt, executive board member for Continental’s automotive group sector: “Technologies for autonomous mobility present the biggest opportunity to transform driving behavior since the creation of the automobile.”
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