Self-driving truck company Aurora launches pilot with Uber Freight

Uber Technologies logo is seen on a vehicle in Manhattan, New York City
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Uber Technologies is seen on a vehicle in Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S., November 17, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

December 15, 2021

By Tina Bellon

(Reuters) – Aurora Innovation Inc said on Wednesday it has launched a pilot program with Uber Technologies Inc’s freight unit to deliver goods in Texas and integrate autonomous trucking into the platform. Uber Freight’s transportation platform.

Aurora said it began automatically shipping freight for Uber Freight customers between Dallas and Houston last week. The company plans to launch a commercial autonomous trucking business by the end of 2023, starting in Texas.

Uber is an investor in Aurora after the self-driving company bought Uber’s ATG autonomous vehicle unit last year and Uber acquired a 26% ownership interest in Aurora.

Uber Freight is a platform that acts as a middleman in connecting shippers who need to transport goods with available truckers, sometimes independent contractors in a highly fragmented market. .

Aurora says that shippers who sign up for their self-driving products will be able to order self-driving trucks through the Uber Freight platform once commercial self-driving trucks launch in 2023.

Using self-driving trucks, shippers will be able to increase truck usage and better transport more frequently between terminals, Aurora said. Truckers are not allowed to drive more than 11 hours a day – the restrictions do not apply to self-driving trucks.

The pilot program deploys so-called drop and hook loads, an industry term that describes a driver who drops a full container at a terminal and then immediately picks up a new container without waiting for unloading.

The human-operated lorries booked through the Uber Freight network then process the final mile to the actual destination, where the goods are being unloaded, the companies said.

(Reporting by Tina Bellon; editing by Jane Wardell) Self-driving truck company Aurora launches pilot with Uber Freight

Caroline Bleakley

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