In it for the long haul: teaming up with PACCAR to build and deploy self-driving trucks
Today we’re excited to share we’ve reached a significant milestone in delivering our first product, a driverless truck.
By Chris Urmson
At Aurora, we take our “no jerks” company value very seriously. This means that we don’t waste time battling over personalities and egos at work. We also take this one step further with our technology by actually programing our vehicles to be courteous citizens of the road. After all, if we don’t hire jerks, why would we make them?
There are plenty of behaviors that we have to program into our vehicles, like stopping for school buses or yielding to cyclists at right-hand turns, since those are existing laws of the road that are instrumental to safety. However, since we’re in the business of operating with integrity, another Aurora company value, we are proactively and intentionally taking the time to program our vehicles to operate like model drivers. This means, quite frankly, that you’ll see fewer “jerks” driving around.
For example, “Keep Right” laws exist in many states, but we rarely see them enforced. So, we’re developing our vehicles to generally stay out of the farthest left lane on a highway whenever possible, except when necessary to pass other vehicles. They may still move into the left lane for routing purposes, like when they’re approaching an exit that can only be accessed via the left lane, but you won’t see our vehicles “camping out” in the passing lane on a highway. In the same vein, we’re also developing our vehicles not to pass vehicles on the right, unless they are moving with the flow of traffic or need to do so for routing reasons.
Below are a few examples of other behaviors that we think make vehicles act more pleasant or delightful on the road:
We’re also currently developing other capabilities that are generally expected of drivers, including:
There’s still a lot to be done as we safely develop and deploy self-driving vehicles. However, I think we can all feel a little better knowing that when self-driving cars do get here, they won’t cut you off.