Frisco police helping improve technology for self-driving 18-wheelers

People may not be aware, but they have been sharing North Texas highways with self-driving big rigs.

Autonomous trucks have been carrying freight in Texas since 2021 with a professional driver on board.

Frisco police are helping the unmanned systems get ready to move full speed ahead.

"We have been delivering packages for years now to folks on both our Dallas to Houston route, as well as our Fort Worth to El Paso route. These are some of the biggest freight routes in the country, and Texas is really the center of the logistics industry," said Jake Martin, with Aurora Innovation.

In fact, people may have already received a package that traveled on a driverless truck.

"We've got a small fleet to start as we are developing this technology for customers, like FedEx, Uber Freight, Werner, and Schneider. We haul about 100 loads per week with a fleet of a few dozen trucks," Martin explained.


Self-driving tech company testing autonomous big rigs across North Texas roads

North Texas drivers could soon be sharing the roads with autonomous big rigs. But many wonder if it’s safe.

Right now, the autonomous trucks have operators on board, but by the end of the year, that will change.

Frisco PD is conducting mock traffic stops to help the self-driving technology.

"The aurora driver, which is what we call our self-driving system within the trucks, learns to emulate what a professional human driver does. So we do this both with testing on public roads, where we work closely with public officials - like the Frisco Police Department - but also in simulation where we can take instances like this, where we are pulled over by a police officer and create thousands upon thousands of permutations of that, changing things like the speed of the vehicles, the location in relation to other vehicles, road conditions, and more, to ensure that when this happens in the real world, not just in a test with Frisco PD, that we can respond safely and appropriately," Martin added.

Technology that could make our highways safer.

"These are trucks that have superhuman senses. They can see farther than a human eye. They can react quicker than you or I might do on the road," Martin said.

The Lone Star State is not only the center of the logistics industry, but now, the global hub for autonomous trucking.

"And it's a home-grown innovation that's going to deliver safety, economic, and supply chain benefits to Texans before anyone else in the world," Martin said.