Two safety operators and no passengers are now aboard a fleet of autonomous driving taxis that the American automated driving systems developer Aurora Innovation Inc. and the Japanese automotive giant Toyota Motor are testing in Texas.
Toyota’s Siena hybrid minivans that have had Aurora’s self-driving technology upgraded will be tested on suburban streets and highways in Texas’ Dallas-Fort Worth area, including trips to airports.
Although not entirely autonomous, the test is currently tiny. A supervisor will be in the driver’s seat of each car, and there will also be a monitor in the passenger area. The Siennas, according to Aurora, could travel up to 70 mph on their own. In the next months, the self-driving car company said it would increase the number of self-driving vehicles in its fleet and conduct testing in more densely populated locations.
Due of its ability to test and develop high-priority journeys for its Aurora Connect autonomous driving taxi programme, such as trips to the airport, as well as its availability of key transportation routes, Aurora chose the U.S. state of Texas.
Uber’s self-driving division was purchased by Aurora in 2020, and the two companies have remained in contact ever since.