Volvo and Aurora Unveil Their First Autonomous Truck

Three years after announcing their partnership, Volvo and Aurora have revealed their first production autonomous truck. The Volvo VNL Autonomous truck, designed by the autonomous vehicle company Aurora and manufactured by Volvo, made its debut at the ACT Expo in Las Vegas.

The truck is equipped with the Aurora Driver, a Level 4 autonomous driving system. This advanced system employs high-resolution cameras, imaging radars, a LiDAR sensor capable of detecting objects up to 400 meters away, and various other sensors. Aurora’s technology has amassed billions of virtual training miles and 1.5 million commercial miles on public roads. For enhanced safety, the truck features redundant systems for steering, braking, communication, computation, power management, energy storage, and vehicle motion management.

Despite its autonomous capabilities, the truck will initially have a human driver on board to take over when necessary. This will be the case as it starts transporting cargo across North America in the coming months. Aurora has indicated that it will soon announce pilot programs with clients planning to use the new truck, though it has not yet disclosed specific companies. Previously, Aurora has conducted pilot programs with FedEx and Uber Freight.

Aurora also plans to deploy 20 fully driverless trucks between Dallas and Houston soon. However, it is not clear if these will include the new Volvo trucks or those from other partners. At the Las Vegas event, Volvo announced that it has begun manufacturing a test fleet of the VNL Autonomous truck at its New River Valley assembly facility in Virginia. Nils Jaeger, President of Volvo Autonomous Solutions, described this truck as the “first of [the company’s] standardized global autonomous technology platform,” hinting at more models to come in the future.

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