Aurora unveils fleet management platform to optimize autonomous operations – TechCrunch

Autonomous vehicle technology company Aurora Innovation has unveiled a fleet management system that can be used to help optimize operations for the startup’s trucking and ride-sharing products.

Aurora announced the platform, named Aurora Beacon, alongside its first-quarter earnings report on Wednesday, in which the company presented investors with a series of milestones on the road to bringing its trucking product to market. Aurora Horizon, and the launch of its ride-hail product, Aurora Connect, both of which are built on the same standalone stack.

Once Aurora reaches commercialization, Beacon will give customers access to real-time vehicle data such as health, status and current location, as well as real-time alerts on things like vehicle status, ETA, traffic conditions, mission updates and major weather events, according to the company. All of these tools will be added to Beacon’s ability to plan, dispatch, monitor and coordinate fleets, which Aurora already uses today for fleet operations.

A concrete example given by Aurora concerns the case of a tire with low air pressure; an alert will be sent to the fleet manager, who can then redirect the vehicle to a nearby service center.

The startup now has active commercial pilots with FedEx, Uber Freight, and most recently Werner Enterprises — all three of which involve self-driving freight in Texas, but it’s not yet clear whether the company is using currently Beacon with these clients. However, lessons learned from those partnerships helped inform the creation of Beacon, the company said.

“This level of understanding and control of the real-time location, status and goals of autonomous vehicles will help Aurora customers maximize their utilization and responsiveness to changing conditions and network demands,” said Aurora said in a statement.

Beacon also provides remote assistance in the event that an Aurora Driver-powered vehicle encounters a situation it has never encountered before and cannot understand, such as getting pulled over by law enforcement, what peer AV Cruise recently covered.

Eventually, as the company nears commercial deployment, Beacon is expected to be offered alongside Aurora Driver, the company’s self-driving system, as a product that can be integrated via API into carriers’ existing systems. , fleets and networks, according to Aurora. .

Aurora Q1 2022 Financials

Aurora ended the first quarter of the year with an operating loss of $143 million, compared to $192 million in the same quarter last year. Similarly, its net loss this quarter was $77 million, compared to $189 million last year.

The company ended the quarter with nearly $42 million in “collaboration revenue” for development work associated with the company’s deal with Toyota, which will support its planned ride-sharing product. In March, the company unveiled its test fleet of six Toyota Sienna robotaxis, which will be tested in Texas on high-speed routes.

Ultimately, revenue from the collaboration is not revenue, and as a pre-revenue company, Aurora declined to provide guidance, allowing the company to complete its call, including questions and answers. , in about 30 minutes.

Aurora ended the quarter with $1.5 billion in cash and short-term investments, money the company will use to continue developing the Aurora pilot for large-scale commercial deployment, with a focus on getting to market. of its trucking product first. The company also expects to get an additional $52 million in cash from Toyota over the rest of the year, which should help it further develop its ride-sharing product, according to Richard Tame, Aurora’s chief financial officer.

Aurora shares are up slightly after hours and are currently trading at $4.10 at the time of this writing.

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