Self-driving technology company Aurora said it will begin piloting trucks loaded with its software this week to haul goods for U.S. package delivery firm FedEx Corp between Dallas and Houston, albeit with a safety driver.
Aurora, which is led by former heads of self-driving programs at Google, Uber and Tesla Inc., added on Wednesday it is aiming for trucks without a safety driver by late 2023.
The news comes a week after self-driving startup Argo AI, Ford Motor Co. and Walmart Inc. said they would together launch an autonomous vehicle delivery service in Miami, Austin, and Washington, D.C.
In January, Aurora announced a partnership with U.S. truckmaker PACCAR Inc., whose brands include Peterbilt and Kenworth, to develop self-driving trucks. Aurora now plans to use these trucks to deliver FedEx parcels.
Aurora, which is going public through a deal with a blank-check firm backed by Silicon Valley heavyweights Reid Hoffman and Mark Pincus, is also working with Sweden’s Volvo Group to develop self-driving trucks.
Heavy truck makers around the world are lining up technology partners to help build out self-driving systems for long-haul freight that could see widespread commercial service well before self-driving robotaxis.