Self-driving startup Aurora partners with heavy truck company Paccar
Aurora — a company probably best known for buying up Uber’s ill-fated self-driving vehicle division — is hard at work trying to bring autonomy to the world of trucking. To facilitate this, Aurora announced its partnership with Paccar (maker of Peterbilt and Kenworth trucks) on Tuesday.
Aurora is currently testing Kenworth T680 and Peterbilt 579 model trucks in Texas. These trucks have been fitted with Aurora’s FirstLight lidar system and Driver software suite. Aurora plans to use its partnership with Paccar to commercialize its vehicle-agnostic self-driving tech within the next several years.
The self-driving heavy truck industry is getting increasingly competitive, with entries from companies like TuSimple, Waymo and Hyundai entering the fray. That doesn’t even take into account the short-haul and drayage companies like Einride.
In many ways, it’s reasonable to assume that we’ll see a Level 4 self-driving heavy truck before we see a widely available passenger car with the same kind of automation — at least in an on-ramp to off-ramp capacity — owing to the much less complex driving task.
As to how long it could be before the industry sees regulatory approval for autonomous semi trucks, that remains a mystery.