Self-driving technology startup Aurora has launched its first commercial-ready terminal for autonomous trucks, the company announced earlier this month.
The new terminal, located in South Dallas in Palmer, Texas, deploys autonomous trucks pulling freight between Dallas and Houston for Aurora’s pilot customers, including FedEx, Schneider, and Uber Freight. In the past six months, the trailer traffic at the terminal has tripled, reflecting Aurora’s growth in pilot hauls. Currently, Aurora is hauling 50 customer loads a week across its two commercial routes and expects to increase its pilot hauls to 100 loads per week by the end of 2023.
This next-generation terminal incorporates a number of features for commercial driverless operations. This includes, specific capabilities for driverless operations such as sensor calibration ranges, high- speed data offload, and launching and landing zones. It also supports on-site maintenance to optimize fleet uptime and support safe operation of trucks on the road. In addition, it offers traditional services, including fueling and weigh stations to enable autonomous trucks to continuously drive without additional stops.
“Self-driving technology will fundamentally transform how we move goods,” Kendra Phillips, vice president of service delivery at Aurora, said in a statement. “It’s incredibly exciting to lead the way for how to deliver commercial driverless operations to our customers and the broader industry.”
This next-generation terminal is designed to serve as a blueprint for the company’s future network of terminals. As Aurora prepares for the commercial launch of its autonomous trucking service, Aurora Horizon, it will employ a network of terminals to house, maintain, prepare, inspect, and deploy autonomous trucks between destinations.
Aurora noted its network of terminals is key to keeping customers’ trucks hauling freight on the road to 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, a unique benefit of autonomous trucks. The company expected its Houston terminal to be ready for commercial operation in the third quarter of 2023, which will enable end-to-end autonomous operation on its launch lane.
“This blueprint for next-generation autonomous terminals will be instrumental as we deploy autonomous trucks at scale across the U.S.,” Phillips said in a statement.