In December 2020, Aurora bought out Uber’s self-driving car division. An acquisition that has allowed the startup to change dimension. Since then, the startup has chained agreements and buyouts. The latest is the one with Volvo Autonomous Solutions which aims to deploy a fleet of autonomous trucks in North America.
Aurora and Volvo join forces
This partnership is intended to extend over several years according to the two companies. The objective is clearly to jointly develop autonomous trucks for North America. Since acquiring Uber’s self-driving car division, Aurora only strengthens its position in the market. The startup also acquired OURS Technology in February 2021, a company specializing in LIDAR technologies.
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This new partnership allows Aurora to have relationships with two of the three largest truck manufacturers in the world : Paccar and Volvo. Together, the manufacturers produce and sell nearly 50% of all trucks in the United States. An Aurora spokesperson told TechCrunch that : “Our previously announced collaborations with partners such as Paccar will continue alongside the collaboration with Volvo. As an autonomous driving technology partner of Paccar and Volvo, we plan to deploy a fleet of autonomous trucks and bring them to market first ”.
LIDAR sensors like no other
According to the startup, its FMCW (continuous wave frequency modulated) LIDAR technologies, will be the key to developing autonomous trucks on a large scale. LIDAR sensors are essential parts of autonomous driving systems. Those developed by Aurora are different from the others. Thanks to its various acquisitions, Aurora has successfully developed a sensor that provides long range visibility, necessary to spot hazards with sufficient time to stop or slow down. An essential element for autonomous trucks, very heavy and therefore longer to brake.
In fact, FMCW LIDAR sensors can instantly measure the speed of objects approaching or moving away from them. In addition, these sensors are not subject to interference from the sun or other sensors. For these two reasons, they are therefore much more efficient than traditional sensors. With Volvo’s help, Aurora will be able to test and refine these autonomous driving technologies to put autonomous trucks on our roads within a few months. In just three years of existence, the former executives of Uber, Tesla and Google behind the creation of Aurora, will have known make him a leader in the field of autonomous driving.