Self-driving technology company Aurora 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 Inc., Uber Inc., 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.
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 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.