Werner Teams With Aurora for Self-Driving Tractor-Trailers

  • Werner Teams With Aurora for Self-Driving Tractor-Trailers

    We have heard the rumblings of the self-driving wave of semi-trucks for several years now. There have been limited tests that have proven successful and seem to be limited to non-metropolitan stretches of road.

    Werner recently teamed up with the self-driving technology company, Aurora, to launch a new test of autonomous driving semi-trucks. Werner is based out of Omaha and recognized that there is a route that they haul between Fort Worth and El Paso that many drivers find undesirable. The stretch represents one part of the busiest trucking stretches that goes from L.A. to Atlanta.

    The pilot program is aimed to target this particular stretch as it is often a run that sees many drivers run into trucker fatigue. It’s over 590 miles long and can take upwards of 9 hours for a driver to finish. It isn’t an industry secret for drivers that this is often one of the least appealing routes and many truckers will do their best to avoid it when possible.

    Aurora and Werner recognized that which is why they launched this pilot program for autonomous trucks to make the run. Aurora claims that they aim to make autonomous trucks handle the less desirable routes that many truckers avoid.

    They had to setup two new “terminal sites” that the trucks travel between and also ensure the safety of other drivers on the road. The test will also have people in the actual truck to take over when and if they are needed based on driving performance of the autonomous technology.

    The technology around trucking and autonomous driving is still at the very early stages. The partnership expands Aurora outside of the current Uber freight that they had almost exclusively been working with (a company that Aurora acquired).

    Drivers in the industry are hesitant about the abilities of autonomous driving and also have concerns of what it might do to truck drivers job duties in years to come. It is important to keep a close eye on the success of pilot programs like this one to keep a pulse on what future changes might be coming down the line.

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