Aurora Innovation along with Werner Enterprises is shipping goods between Fort Worth and El Paso using self-driving technology in its trucks.
"There's an immense amount of freight that happens in Texas,” Aurora Vice President of Government Relations Gerardo Interiano said. “This route represents one of the busiest thoroughfares in U.S. trucking and that's the road between Atlanta and Los Angeles."
Interiano said the technology could help with the ongoing truck driver shortage and supply chain issues.
"Today there are 60,000 open jobs for truckers across the country,” Interiano said. “By deploying this technology we're really helping to be able to deliver goods more efficiently, more quickly and more safely to customers across the country."
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Safety is a main concern for many state groups like the Transportation Advocates of Texas.
"TxDOT is doing a great job in trying to stay out in front of the technology and make sure whatever we do we continually take the safety of our travelers all across the state to account first and foremost," Transportation Advocates of Texas chairman Drew Campbell said.
The trucks currently have safety drivers behind the wheel during the testing phase. But the goal is to eventually remove them.
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We believe that deploying this technology it will not only make the roads safer, it will make it safer for consumers and make it safer for others on the roadway,” Interiano said. “We've made a commitment with our partners in government that we will not remove the human driver until we can work with them and show them that with our technology it is in fact safer than a human driver."
If testing goes well Aurora is working towards removing the safety drivers from behind the wheel by the end of 2023.