Meet “Fusion,” the Aurora Driver’s Next-Generation Hardware Designed to Power Our Trucks and Cars When We Commercially Launch
Whether it’s detecting a pedestrian over three football fields away, registering the speed of oncoming traffic, or driving through thick dust clouds or a blindingly bright sunset, the Aurora Driver has to see it all. It also has to know what to do with the world it sees.
Based on years of experience, we’ve honed a holistic and deeply integrated approach to building the Aurora Driver’s hardware and software, enabling it to effectively and accurately make hundreds of decisions a second to navigate a safe path through the world. Our integrated hardware suite is made up of cameras, radar, and lidar sensors and designed to be much stronger than the sum of its parts, allowing it to handle even the trickiest of edge cases.
We’ve also built the Aurora Driver for commercial-scale, and today, we’re excited to announce that we’ve reached a crucial development milestone in our path to commercialization.
“Fusion” is the next generation of our hardware kit, which will debut in commercial pilots this year and lay the foundation for the launch of our trucking and ride-hailing businesses in 2023 and 2024, respectively. With more powerful sensors condensed into a sleek, modular automotive-grade rack and a new powerhouse computer, Fusion feeds the Aurora Driver higher-resolution data even faster. The end result is a feature-complete, safer, more reliable Driver ready to be deployed at a commercial scale.
We internally nicknamed this kit “Fusion” because it’s one of our biggest feats since joining forces with Uber ATG’s exceptional hardware team. For years, both Aurora and Uber ATG have been developing hardware for specific use cases. Fusion “fuses” the best of many generations of hardware development from each team into a single, optimized, deeply integrated system.
Our hardware leadership team is unmatched when it comes to building cost-effective high-performance cameras and incorporating the latest top-of-the-line camera technology. To make our new 360-degree cameras, we combined the most advanced automotive-grade sensor technology with custom-designed lenses. Now, we’re able to detect objects even in challenging lighting situations like facing headlight glare and sun glare, and entering and exiting tunnels.
FirstLight Lidar accurately measures the position and velocity of every point it observes to build a dynamic 3D representation of the world for the Aurora Driver. By leveraging FirstLight’s data, we can track the velocity and compute the acceleration of vehicles over 400 meters away faster than ever before, creating more time for braking and responding safely. With the OURS team and their silicon photonics technology, we’ll be able to mass-manufacture our lidar sensors at an even lower cost when we deploy the Aurora Driver at a commercial scale.
Our improved imaging radar sensors produce true and precise 3D images despite challenging weather conditions like rain, dense fog, and snow.
To quickly build a computer that could process more sophisticated sensor data, we combined our collective expertise. The result: a powerful, elegant machine with a 5x increase in processing power, built-in redundancy for additional safety, and the networking power capacity to operate safely without a safety driver. Our new computer also comes with an enhanced liquid cooling system so it can handle the hot temperatures of the Southwest, a feature adapted from ATG.
Our next-generation hardware is designed to operate all of our vehicle platforms, including trucks, light-duty vans, and passenger cars. With sophisticated and cost-effective cameras, lidar, and radar, and a new powerhouse computer, our hardware gives the Aurora Driver the advanced range, field of view, data accuracy, and efficiency it needs to handle sun glare, bright emergency vehicle lights, dust, pedestrian detection at night, small object detection with high-accuracy, fast-moving actors such as speeding motorcyclists, and more.
Before we launch our autonomous trucking and ride-hailing businesses, expect to see our latest hardware on commercial pilots of our Class 8 trucks and on our test fleet of Toyota Siennas that will hit public roads at the end of 2021.
This article was originally published by Aurora Innovation Inc.
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