Aurora Leverages Uber Ride Data To Plan High-Speed Robotaxi Service

Automated ride-hail services, a core goal for leading autonomous tech developers Alphabet’s Waymo and GM-backed Cruise, are being readied mainly in low-speed urban and suburban settings as the AI behind the wheel trains to deliver passengers safely while avoiding pedestrians, cyclists, potholes and other vehicles. But rival startup Aurora says its robotaxi service will focus on higher-speed highway rides such as airport runs when it launches in 2024…

Aurora, whose other founders include CEO and ex-Google Self-Driving Project chief Chris Urmson and Carnegie-Mellon University computer scientist Drew Bagnell, had seemed to shift its focus from robotaxis to trucking in the past year, an application for autonomous technology that looks to be both more attainable and lucrative in the near-term than ride services. Yet when it announced plans to list shares publicly via a SPAC merger this month, the company emphasized that its robotaxi development work continues and should be ready by 2024.