PACCAR Inc. today announced that it has teamed up with Aurora Innovation Inc. and FedEx Corp. to launch a commercial pilot of autonomous trucks in line-haul trucking operations. The companies claimed that their collaboration is the first of its kind among a truck manufacturer, a self-driving technology developer, and a logistics provider, respectively.
“PACCAR is pleased to partner with industry leaders FedEx and Aurora on this innovative project,” said John Rich, chief technology officer at Bellevue, Wash.-based PACCAR.
The company designs, manufactures, and supports high-quality, light-, medium- and heavy-duty trucks under the Kenworth, Peterbilt, and DAF nameplates. PACCAR also designs and makes advanced powertrains, provides financial services and information technology, and distributes truck parts related to its principal business.
PACCAR, Aurora expand alliance
In January, PACCAR and Aurora announced a strategic alliance to develop, test, and commercialize autonomous Peterbilt and Kenworth trucks. The allies said they will integrate PACCAR’s autonomous vehicle platform with the Aurora Driver to enhance safety and operational efficiency for PACCAR's customers.
Founded in 2017, Aurora said its Aurora Driver brings together software, hardware, and data services to autonomously operate passenger vehicles, light commercial vehicles, and heavy-duty trucks. The Pittsburgh-based startup has partnered with companies including Toyota (with which it unveiled an autonomous ride-hailing vehicle), Uber, and Volvo.
Aurora is testing its vehicles in the San Francisco Bay Area, Pittsburgh, and Northern Texas. It has agreed to merge with Reinvent Technology Partners Y, a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) and will be valued at $1 billion.
“This new commercial pilot collaboration demonstrates the excellent progress that PACCAR and Aurora are making in our strategic alliance,” added Rich.
FedEx loads autonomously hit the road
Starting today, PACCAR’s trucks configured with the Aurora autonomous Driver will haul FedEx loads between Dallas and Houston, a 500-mile round trip, along the I-45 corridor. The trucks will operate autonomously, with a backup driver for additional safety.
With annual revenue of $87 billion, FedEx said its 560,000 team members provide customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce, and business services.
“FedEx was built on innovation, and we always anticipate what’s next to be future-ready,” said Rebecca Yeung, vice president of advanced technology and innovation at FedEx Corp. “This is an exciting, industry-first collaboration that will work towards enhancing the logistics industry through safer, more efficient transportation of goods, and we are pleased to collaborate with other industry leaders – Aurora and PACCAR – on this endeavor.”
“As leaders in our respective fields, we have critical and unique perspectives on how to develop and deploy safe, self-driving truck solutions for this industry,” said Sterling Anderson, Aurora chief product officer. “This collaboration allows for the creation of a cohesive and integrated product and service. We believe there is no other credible way to deliver this complex and valuable technology at scale.”
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