Toyota Minivan Fleet to Test Aurora Self-Driving Tech in Texas

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Photo: Aurora

The race to scale autonomous driving software is on, with many automakers testing their own versions of the technology — including Toyota.

Toyota plans to conduct testing of Aurora’s self-driving system using its Sienna minivans in the Dallas Fort Worth area of Texas, according to Automotive News.

The testing will include driving on highways, suburban streets and specific routes to the airport.

In a statement, Aurora said, “The route showcases Aurora’s ability to safely operate at highway speeds, a key technical differentiator that allows it to prioritize popular and lucrative rides.”

The Toyota Siennas have been outfitted with sensor hardware, and will include two safety operators on board with no passengers to start.

Aurora is headed up by former Google self-driving car leader Chris Urmson, who eventually hopes the service can launch commercial for ride-hailing networks such as Uber.

In 2020, the U.S. company also purchased Uber’s autonomous vehicle company ATG, with Uber gaining a 26 percent ownership interest in Aurora.

Earlier this year, Toyota announced plans for a self-driving car software, called Arene, set to also support third-party apps and expected to launch as soon as 2025.

Toyota also said last year it plans to release the all-electric bZ4X electric SUV by Spring 2022.

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