Self-driving startup Aurora today announced a partnership with PacCar to build and deploy autonomous trucks. It’s Aurora’s first commercial application in trucking, and the company says it will combine its engineering teams around an “accelerated development program” to create driverless-capable trucks starting with the Peterbilt 479 and the Kenworth T680.
Some experts predict the pandemic will hasten adoption of autonomous vehicles for delivery. Self-driving cars, vans, and trucks promise to minimize the risk of spreading disease by limiting driver contact. This is particularly true with regard to short-haul freight, which is experiencing a spike in volume during the outbreak. The producer price index for local truckload carriage jumped 20.4% from July to August, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most likely propelled by demand for short-haul distribution from warehouses and distribution centers to ecommerce fulfillment centers and stores.