Aurora – The autonomous driving company

by Precious Cyprain
4 mins read
Aurora autonomous driver

Aurora is an autonomous vehicle technology company founded in 2017 by Chris Urmson, Sterling Anderson and Drew Bagnell. Aurora has its headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Mountain View, California. It also has different branch offices situated in San Francisco, Texas, Montana, and Bozeman.  

Aurora’s primary product is the Aurora driver which is a self-driving computer system consisting of hardware, software and sensors which are installed into automobiles to enable autonomous driving. The Aurora driver is designed to be compatible with a broad set of vehicle types, turning them into self-driving vehicles. The first vehicle to be integrated with the Aurora driver was the Toyota Sienna.  

The components of the Aurora driver  


The hardware components of the Aurora driver are the parts that enable it to interact with its environment or surroundings. The hardware consists of a powerful computer and a suite of modular sensors 

  • The computer 

The computer of the Aurora driver is a rugged high-speed computing system which collects data from the sensor, operates the software, powers the components and controls the entire vehicle. It is a powerful computer that decreases power consumption and latency for efficient processing.  

Aurora driver computer has a self-monitoring and redundant ability in which it can detect and lessen errors without compromising its safety or performance. It is also designed to withstand a wide range of weather and road conditions, whether bumpy roads, heavy rain, extreme heat or cold, etc. The computer occupies little space in the vehicle, thereby being compatible with vehicles of all sizes. 

  • The sensors 

The modular sensor is designed for optimal durability, efficiency and compatibility with various vehicles. Aurora driver sensors consist of Lidar, radar and cameras that work together to achieve an overlapping 360° view of its surroundings at all times. 

  1. Lidar: Aurora FirstLight Lidar enables the vehicle to travel at very high speeds safely. FMCW lidar utilizes a low-powered continuous beam of light to track and identify surrounding objects and also determines their velocity, position and acceleration to create a dynamic 3D representation of the environment around the Aurora driver.  
  2. Radar: Aurora driver imaging radar sensor is made custom to produce accurate 3D images of the world around the vehicle at high range and resolution. The radar enables the Aurora driver to safely navigate through a variety of weather conditions. 
  3. Cameras: Aurora driver consists of cameras containing automotive-grade sensor technology that identify and classify objects and colours in the vehicle’s surroundings, even at far distances and in poor lighting conditions.  

Software of Aurora driver

The autonomy software of the Aurora driver mediates how it interacts with the world. It utilizes the data gotten from the sensors of the Aurora driver to devise a safe path through an intended route. The software consists of motion planning systems, intelligent perception, a simulation engine and an HD map.  

  • Motion planning system

 A revolutionary Interleaved forecasting and learned decision-making architecture enable an Aurora driver to comply with the necessary obligations on the road due to the complex interactions involved with driving. This helps to enable safe, predictable and accurate reasoning as to the correct movement to take even when unexpected obstacles are encountered. 

  • Perception  

The intelligent perception of an Aurora driver and its excellent awareness of its surroundings at every moment gives it a safer edge even over human drivers. The perception system can detect and track various objects around the Aurora driver that are slow, fast, near, far or stationary, using the information obtained from the sensors that have been interpreted into an accurate representation of the environment.  

  • Simulation engine 

Aurora driver is tested and validated in a hyperrealistic virtual world within the simulation engine. This helps to improve performance and identify and correct errors early before the software is released to the road.  

  • Mapping

Aurora driver’s high-definition map enables better and more accurate navigation of the road by providing precise information about the road. This makes Aurora drivers know the better and safer route to take and the conditions to expect on the road. The map also evolves with every change in infrastructure to reflect the current state of the road. 

Aurora plans to release a new generation of Aurora driver in 2023 named Fusion 

Read also: Self-driving cars technology| Mechanism, pros and cons 

Related Posts

Leave a Comment