Self-driving tech co Aurora to test driverless delivery with FedEx

(Reuters) – 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, 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.

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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.

(Reporting by Abhijith Ganapavaram in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

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