Aurora and Volvo

Commercial trucks on the way to autonomy

By Gary S. Vasilash

If you read the sentence, “Sally drove her HEMI-powered Charger down Woodward” you probably know that the vehicle, the Charger, has a massive engine under its hood, a HEMI. (The “Woodward” part is just for color: M1 is a street in greater Detroit upon which countless HEMIs traveling one-quarter-mile at a time.)

When you read the line “the Aurora-powered Volvo VNL” and know that the VNL is Volvo Trucks’ big rig, Class 8 truck, you might wonder what kind of powertrain the “Aurora” is.

Volvo VNL being equipped with the Aurora Driver. (Image: Aurora)

But of course it isn’t.

Rather, Aurora, as in the self-driving technology development company, has integrated its “Aurora Driver,” its sensor suite for Level 4 autonomous driving, into the Volvo VNL.

The truck is actually being powered—in the Sally sense—by the Volvo D13 Turbo Compound engine that can produce up to 455 hp.

As for the Aurora implementation, the company is working to assure that the Aurora hardware and software are fully integrated into the architecture of the VNL so that Volvo will be able to produce the L4-capable trucks in its plant in Dublin, Virginia.