Toyota-Aurora Begins Testing Autonomous Vehicles in Texas


Toyota and Aurora Innovation Inc., a US developer of automated driving systems, have begun testing a fleet of autonomous vehicles in Texas. The test of this driverless car still involves two drivers for safety and has not yet carried passengers.


This test uses a Toyota Sienna car, which is already equipped with the Aurora self-driving system. The car will be tested on highways and suburban roads in the Dallas-Fort-Worth area, with operations including trips to the airport.


Autonomous vehicle startups are under pressure to generate meaningful revenue from their billions of dollars in investment, but upgrading the fleet is a challenge as technological hurdles persist.


“The route demonstrates Aurora’s ability to operate safely at highway speeds, a key technical differentiator that allows it to prioritize popular and profitable travel,” the US company said in a statement.


Aurora’s competitor Waymo charges a fare for passengers using their self-driving minivan in a confined suburban area of ​​Phoenix. However, they have not provided a route to and from the airport.


Waymo said Monday it was ready to expand its self-driving car operations in the densely populated city of San Francisco, without providing a timeframe for launch.


Aurora, led by Chris Urmson, the former head of Google’s self-driving car project that has since become Waymo, said it plans to continue adding autonomous vehicles to its fleet in preparation for commercial rollouts on ride-hailing networks like Uber.


Aurora is buying Uber’s autonomous vehicle unit ATGin 2020 while the ride-hailing giant has acquired a 26 percent stake in Aurora.




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