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Aurora adds Schneider to autonomous pilot customer list

Texas runs with supervised trucks for fleet giant begin this week

Aurora Innovation snagged Schneider as a commercial pilot customer for its Aurora Diver autonomous trucking service. (Photo: Aurora Innovation)

Aurora Innovation is adding freight giant Schneider to a growing list of fleets testing its Aurora Driver autonomous trucking software.

“Understanding more about an autonomous future is the logical next step to build a network that continues to deliver the best service for our customers,” Rob Reich, Schneider executive vice president and chief administrative officer, said in a press release.

Schneider (NYSE: SNDR) hauls 19,318 loads per day for America’s biggest companies covering more than 9.3 million miles a day. It operates 10,120 company trucks and 33,830 trailers from 166 facilities in the United States, Canada, Mexico and China.

The Aurora Driver will begin supervised weekly autonomous hauls this week between Dallas and Houston. Load frequency is expected to increase as the relationship expands, Aurora said.

Longer route

Aurora (NASDAQ: AUR) pulls trailers in supervised autonomous trucks from Dallas to Houston. It recently added a 600-mile route from Fort Worth to El Paso, Texas, regarded as the middle leg of an Atlanta-to-Los Angeles cross-country haul.

Aurora also counts Covenant Transport, U.S. Xpress and Werner Enterprises as test customers as it progresses toward delivering Aurora Horizon, a subscription-based autonomous trucking service. The Pittsburgh-based startup has hauled freight for FedEx and is working with Uber Freight.

“Preparing Aurora Horizon for prime time with Schneider springloads our ability to deploy our product at scale in the years to come,” said Sterling Anderson, Aurora’s co-founder and chief product officer.

Schneider’s choice of Aurora is curious since its fleet is made up almost entirely of Freightliner Cascadias. Aurora equips Peterbilt Model 579s with its Aurora Driver software.

Aurora competitors Waymo Via and Torc Robotics, an independent subsidiary of Daimler Truck, equip Freightliners with Waymo software.

Disclosure: FreightWaves founder and CEO Craig Fuller retains ownership of U.S. Xpress shares through his family trust.

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Alan Adler

Alan Adler is an award-winning journalist who worked for The Associated Press and the Detroit Free Press. He also spent two decades in domestic and international media relations and executive communications with General Motors.