Will Aurora Innovation's driverless vehicle control system be used commercially by the end of 2024?

I happened to see some discussion on Twitter today of Aurora Innovation, a company working on autonomous vehicle control systems with an emphasis on commercial trucking.

Their website and most of the press about them is pretty fluffy and sales-y, but as far as I can tell, the main thing they plan to deliver eventually is the "Aurora Driver," which seems to be basically a control system and a set of sensors that can be installed in any vehicle (either a passenger car or a large truck). They then plan to offer commercial shipping services and ride-hailing services powered by that system.

Their key goal right now seems to be that they intend to make the "Aurora Driver" system commercially available in some way by the end of 2024. I'm not entirely clear on what exactly that means, but I think they're saying that they intend to get safety clearance to install it in a small fleet of trucks, and have those trucks run simple routes along a couple of major highways in Texas. And their latest press as of now seems to be saying that they believe the control system is fully tested, and they just need to convince regulatory authorities to approve it.

So, the goal of this market is just to predict whether this company is going to succeed in delivering a commercial product by their target date.

I'm happy to accept amendments to this market by people who know more about this company or this sector than I do, but as a first pass, this resolves YES if:

  • Vehicles with a control system produced by Aurora Innovation (or any successor company) are operating on public roads somewhere, without a human driver present.

  • Members of the public can hire those vehicles in some way (e.g., to haul freight, or as passengers). Or, if people can just purchase an Aurora Driver system and install it in their own vehicles, that would also count.

Resolves NO otherwise. I will not be betting in this market.

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@NLeseul https://www.theverge.com/2024/5/20/24161079/volvo-aurora-autonomous-truck-class-8-production-design


This is not probably the commercial product you have in mind (which I believe was the hardware kit they had planned with Continental) as they are purpose built trucks for self driving, but I think it still qualifies as a commercial product of Aurora jointly with Volvo, assuming they do get on the road this year.

Let me know if this qualifies as commercial or not as this isn’t seemingly a fleet service or a kit as in your resolution criteria.

@parhizj I don't see any reason not to count these Volvo trucks, no. They're still using an Aurora control system, even if the control system is tightly-integrated with this particular model of truck. As long as third parties can buy or rent these trucks from Volvo and operate them on public roads, I'd count that.

However, note that the Tech Crunch article also has this line:

The trucks will be in autonomous mode and will still have a human safety operator behind the wheel to take control if needed.

My criteria did say that there can't be a human driver present. So these trucks would not count if this is the case.

The other article does say:

The autonomous version of the truck features an array of sensors and cameras to power Aurora’s Level 4 autonomous driving system, which enables the truck to operate without a human behind the wheel.

So, to be clear, a YES resolution does require that the trucks actually are operating fully autonomously somewhere, not just that they are capable of operating autonomously. As long as there's any location where a fully autonomous truck is operating on behalf of a third party (i.e., not just an internal test for Aurora or Volvo), that's good enough, even if there are other places where they have a human driver present for regulatory or safety reasons.

(If I recall correctly, part of Aurora's marketing last year was that they believed they were going to get regulatory clearance for full autonomous operation on a couple of highways in Texas, and I wanted the market to include whether or not they actually succeed in getting that clearance.)

@NLeseul Thanks! I think the the criteria is very clear now. Also note in the TechCrunch (and various other articles) Fit looks like they will start with human drivers but try to move to humanless trucking in a limited service before the end of the year ( or so is the plan ).