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‘Tens of Thousands’ of Driverless Trucks to Haul Freight on Highways in Coming Years

via 12 News Now

Aurora Innovation aims to launch the first fully autonomous commercial trucking operation in the US by 2024, transporting freight between Dallas and Houston without human drivers.

After millions of miles of testing autonomous 18-wheelers with safety drivers, Aurora plans to operate 20 driverless trucks in Texas.

“We want to be out there with thousands or tens of thousands of trucks on the road,” Aurora CEO Chris Urmson said. “And to do that, we have to be safe. It’s the only way that the public will accept it. Frankly, it’s the only way our customers will accept it.”

While the technology could increase safety and efficiency, the majority of Americans remain fearful of fully autonomous vehicles due to safety concerns without regulations.

Experts warn of inevitable mistakes by computer systems, questioning how companies will prioritize safety over profits.

Aurora insists safety is the priority, and autonomous trucks will complement rather than replace human drivers.

“If we put a vehicle on the road that isn’t sufficiently safe — that we aren’t confident in the safety of — then it kills everything else,” Urmson said.

“If you’re driving a truck today,” he said, “my expectation is you’re going to be able to retire driving a truck.”

If successful, tens of thousands of driverless trucks could haul freight nationally in coming years through companies racing to commercialize the technology.

However, public acceptance may lag behind technological progress.

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