Toyota is working with Aurora to develop a fleet of self-driving vehicles to be used for ride-hailing services. The work is going on so much that the two companies have just communicated that they will start experience a first fleet of these cars in Texas.
Cars will have two operators on board: one behind the wheel to supervise the behavior of the Aurora Driver system and one in the passenger seat to monitor the car and take notes to send to the engineering team. The experimentation does not foresee the presence of further passengers. For the project they are used Toyota Sienna minivan, specially equipped with the hardware and software platforms developed by Aurora. These vehicles will be tested on roads and highways of the Dallas-Fort-Worth area. The tests also include taking the routes that lead to the airport in the area.
Similarly to what Waymo is doing, Aurora intends to demonstrate the potential of its platform in order to then be able to use it within a real passenger transport service. Aurora has previously stated a goal of wanting to launch its ride-hailing service, Aurora Connect, by the end of 2024, which will also be available through Uber. Recall that Aurora has acquired Uber’s autonomous driving division.
The company is not working on an autonomous driving platform only for passenger cars but also on one platform dedicated to trucks. In this regard, the company is working with Volvo to develop self-driving trucks.
The fleet of cars that will be used for testing in Texas is currently very small. There is talk of about a dozen vehicles. In any case, Aurora says that over the next few months it will expand the experiment by introducing more cars and covering a greater number of routes. It will be interesting to find out the results of this test. Lately, there has been a great stir among companies that deal with the development of autonomous driving with a growing number of trial announcements with the aim of launching automated transport services relatively quickly.