Aurora unveils framework for safe autonomous operation

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Trucking news and briefs for Monday, Aug. 23, 2021:

Aurora releases framework for safe autonomous operation

Self-driving truck company Aurora has released its initial version of the Aurora Safety Case Framework, which applies to both autonomous trucks and passenger vehicles.

The safety case-based approach is a defined way to evaluate when the company’s vehicles are safe enough to operate on public roads and to assess that they are not creating an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety.

“A Safety Case Framework is the most effective and efficient path to safely pulling the safety driver, and it’s an imperative component for any company looking to operate without a safety driver and safely deliver commercial-ready self-driving vehicles at scale,” said Aurora CEO and co-founder Chris Urmson. “It’s something other self-driving companies should strongly consider using as they move towards commercialization.”

Aurora’s Safety Case Framework captures different elements that are critical for evaluating the safe development, testing and operation of a self-driving vehicle on public roads. While a safety case-based approach is frequently used in a variety of other safety-centric industries — including aviation, nuclear, medical, automotive, and oil and gas exploration and extraction — it is not yet the norm in the self-driving industry.

Within Aurora, the framework is how the company continuously reviews evidence and evaluates the Aurora Driver’s performance and development against internal standards to ensure it is confident putting self-driving vehicles on the road both with and without a vehicle operator. Externally, it enables the company to effectively share its approach and progress with partners, customers, regulators and the general public.

Marathon partners with soybean producer for renewable diesel push

Marathon Petroleum Corp. and soybean produced ADM agreed to form a joint venture for the production of soybean oil to supply growing demand for renewable diesel fuel.

Under the terms of the agreement, the joint venture will own and operate ADM’s previously announced soybean processing complex in Spiritwood, North Dakota, with ADM owning 75% of the joint venture and MPC owning 25%. When complete in 2023, the facility will source and process local soybeans and supply the resulting soybean oil exclusively to MPC. The Spiritwood complex is expected to produce approximately 600 million pounds of refined soybean oil annually, enough feedstock for approximately 75 million gallons of renewable diesel per year.

In addition to the Spiritwood joint venture, the companies anticipate working together to explore other opportunities for agriculture to support renewable transportation fuels.