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Robot Trucks on Texas Highways Herald Era of Driverless Big Rigs

The startup founded by the former heads of Google’s Waymo and Tesla’s Autopilot is refining its driverless system ahead of a launch next year.

Inside the cab of an Aurora truck.
Inside the cab of an Aurora truck.

Photographer: Thomas Black/Bloomberg


After lumbering through a gravel parking lot like a big blue bull, one of Aurora Innovation Inc.’s self-driving truck prototypes took a wide right turn onto a frontage road near Dallas. The steering wheel spun through the half-clasped hands of its human operator, whose touch may not be needed much longer.

Fittingly for Texas, these Peterbilts are adorned with a sensor display above the windshield that looks much like a set of longhorns. This was the beginning of a 28-mile jaunt up and down Interstate 45 toward Houston in a truck with a computer for a brain, and cameras, radar and lidar sensors for eyes, capturing objects more than 400 meters (437 yards) out in all directions.