Continental and Aurora Innovation have announced they have achieved a key development milestone to commercialise autonomous trucks at scale.

The companies have finalised the design and architecture of the future fallback system and hardware of the Aurora Driver, an SAE Level 4 autonomous driving system that Continental plans to start production of in 2027.

The finalised hardware design comes less than a year after the companies entered a partnership aimed at high-volume manufacturing of autonomous trucking systems.

The partnership gives Aurora a path to deploy autonomous trucks at scale after its initial driverless launch, planned at the end of 2024. With Continental’s automotive development and manufacturing expertise, the future Aurora Driver will be designed to deliver customer value for one million miles.

Philipp von Hirschheydt, Executive Board member for the Automotive Group sector at Continental, said: “Technologies for autonomous mobility present the biggest opportunity to transform driving behaviour since the creation of the automobile.”

Chris Urmson, Co-Founder and CEO at Aurora said: “From day one, we knew we’d need to build a strong ecosystem of partners to bring this technology to market safely and at a commercial scale. Finalising the design of our future hardware is a meaningful step toward making the unit economics of the Aurora Driver compelling and building a business for the long-term.”

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By GlobalData

For 2024-2025, Continental will build initial versions of the hardware for testing at its new facility in New Braunfels, USA, and across its global manufacturing footprint. By 2026-2027, the start of production and integration is expected to take place, with Aurora Driver ready for deployment at scale expected from 2027 onwards.

Continental will showcase its latest technologies, including its work with Aurora, at a structure exhibit at CES 2024 in Las Vegas Convention this week.