Aurora Driver — The core technology designed to power autonomous vehicles

How it works

The Aurora Driver is a self-driving system with a common core of hardware and software designed to adapt to a broad set of vehicle types, from a four-door sedan to a Class 8 semitruck.

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  • Including a computer and suite of sensors, our hardware kit allows the Aurora Driver to interact with  the world around it.

How the Aurora Driver perceives the world


The Aurora Driver computer is a ruggedized, vehicle-agnostic, high-speed computing platform that ingests sensor data, runs the Aurora Driver software, and controls the vehicle.

  • Powerful

    Our computer performs up to 5400 TOPS, reducing latency and power consumption for faster and more efficient processing.

  • Reliable

    Built with full redundancy and self-monitoring capabilities, our computer detects and mitigates faults with no adverse effects to safety or performance.

  • Durable

    Our computer is designed to meet ISO 16750-3 mechanical reliability targets and withstand a wide range of road conditions and temperatures, from Pennsylvania cold to Texas heat.

  • Compact

    To more easily integrate with vehicles of all sizes, the Aurora Driver’s computer is designed to take up minimal space.


Our sensor pods contain lidar, radar, and cameras that combine to give the Aurora Driver an overlapping 360º view of its environment. 

Their modular design is optimized for serviceability, durability, and seamless blending with a wide array of vehicles.

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  • FirstLight is our custom FMCW long-range lidar that allows our trucks to travel safely at high speeds. It is resistant to interference and accurately measures the position and velocity of every point it observes to build a dynamic 3D representation of the world around the Aurora Driver. 

    To track and identify objects close to the vehicle, the Aurora Driver also uses conventional AM lidar.

How the Aurora Driver interacts with the world


By fusing the information it gathers from each type of sensor into a coherent, accurate, and reliable 3D representation of its environment, the Aurora Driver’s state-of-the-art perception system detects, tracks, and identifies objects that are near, far, fast, slow, and stationary. This ability to perceive and be aware of its surroundings at all times gives the Aurora Driver a safety advantage over even the best human drivers.

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Motion planning

Driving is full of complex interactions. We are teaching the Aurora Driver to be a good citizen of the road using our revolutionary Ainterleaved forecasting and learned decision-making architecture, which enables accurate reasoning and safe, predictable movement even when faced with unexpected obstacles.

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Knowing what route to take and what to expect along that route makes the Aurora Driver a safer and more confident driver. The Aurora Atlas is our lightweight, scalable, high-definition map that provides accurate and precise information about the road. As the Aurora Driver encounters new or changed infrastructure, the Atlas evolves to reflect the current state of the road. In this way, every Aurora Driver-powered vehicle benefits from the collective observations of the fleet.

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We train, test, and validate the Aurora Driver in a hyperrealistic virtual world within our simulation engine, allowing us to continuously iterate and improve system performance without driving millions of real-world miles. 

Simulation is the safest and quickest way to develop our self-driving technology. In our virtual world, the Aurora Driver can learn how to handle even the trickiest, most dangerous edge cases without risk, and we can identify and address issues early, before our software hits the road.

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Want to dive deeper?

Catch up with the latest Aurora Driver updates and discover how it all gets built on our blog.