Volvo Autonomous Solutions last week said it has entered a strategic partnership with self-driving vehicle company Aurora to jointly develop on-highway autonomous trucks. The companies said their multi-year partnership will initially focus on creating hub-to-hub applications for customers in North America.
Volvo Autonomous Solutions is a business unit of Volvo Group working to develop, commercialize, and sell autonomous vehicles for specific on-road and off-road applications. Göteborg, Sweden-based Volvo Autonomous Solutions said such systeems can improve flexibility, delivery precision, and productivity for customers.
The unit recently partnered with Tel Aviv, Israel-based Foretellix Ltd. to address large-scale verification of autonomous vehicles on highways and confined areas such as mines. Volvo also last month opened a new testing facility in Sweden.
Autonomy experts Chris Urmson, Drew Bagnell, and Sterling Anderson founded Aurora in 2017 to develop self-driving technology. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company said it is working with manufacturing, mobility, logistics, and fleet management partners including Hyundai and Uber. Its goal is to accelerate the adoption of driverless vehicles to safely move goods and people.
The Aurora Drive includes hardware and software, and the company is testing vehicles in the Bay Area, Pittsburgh, and Dallas. Aurora has also partnered with PACCAR on autonomous truck production and acquired lidar startups Blackmore and OURS Technology.
Aurora, Volvo collaborate on 'Transport as a Service'
Aurora and Volvo said their partnership will integrate the Aurora Driver into Volvo’s trucks and develop “Transport as a Service” offerings. These offerings will build on Volvo’s products and safety track record, as well as Aurora’s experience in developing self-driving systems, the companies said.
“These trucks will combine the best of Volvo’s technology with the Aurora Driver, which uniquely has the ability to detect and track objects well beyond 300 meters, into a compelling and scalable logistics platform,” said Aurora.
“Creating a viable autonomous on-highway offering requires close partnerships with both customers and tech partners to develop the needed capabilities,” stated Nils Jaeger, president of Volvo Autonomous Solutions. “This exciting partnership brings our goal of transport as a service an important step closer and will accelerate our commercial offer for hub-to-hub applications in North America.”
“Aurora is already a leading force in autonomous systems, and its integrated self-driving stack, software, hardware, and data services platform combine to offer a clear path towards efficient and safe on-highway solutions in the medium term,” he added.
“Since the first project together in 2018, Aurora has developed a deep respect for Volvo, its engineering process, and its commitment to safety,” said Sterling Anderson, co-founder and chief product officer at Aurora. “With the groundwork now laid through the establishment of Volvo Autonomous Solutions and the creation of Aurora’s industry-leading sensor suite, we’re excited to join forces to develop self-driving solutions with Volvo’s impressive network of customers.”
Volvo noted that previously announced autonomous driving partnerships, such as that with NVIDIA, will continue in parallel with its work with Aurora.