Aurora Innovation and Werner Enterprises have announced a collaboration and commercial pilot to test and safely deploy autonomous trucks on a commercially active highway in Texas.

From this week, trucks powered by Aurora Driver, the supplier’s automated driving platform, will haul loads between loads between Fort Worth and El Paso on behalf of Werner. The 600-mile lane represents the middle leg of one of the busiest commercial thoroughfares for Werner and the U.S. trucking industry at large. By introducing an autonomous route between Fort Worth and El Paso, Aurora hopes to help Werner move freight efficiently and reliably.

Aurora’s collaboration with Werner works to broaden its customer base, including multiple types of carrier. The pilot itself is similarly designed to advance two of its key technologies – Aurora Driver and Aurora Horizon, its autonomous truck product, to develop a robust service for carriers. Today, operators are accompanying each truck in the pilot fleet on weekly hauls, ready to take over if necessary. Over the next several months, both Aurora and Werner expect to increase the frequency of these loads and will explore higher levels of autonomy for vehicles in this lane.

For Aurora, the pilot also represents the next step towards its goal to deploying Aurora Driver at scale. In committing to its pilot with Werner, the company activated a pair of new terminal sites to service the route and developed the necessary infrastructure required to operate it.