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Aurora And PACCAR Team Up In Autonomous Truck Push

Image via PACCAR

Just last month Uber unloaded its self-driving unit, Advanced Technologies Group, to Aurora to accelerate the development of the Aurora Driver, which is hoping to become the autonomous driving platform powering everything from passenger vehicles to heavy-duty trucks.

Aurora is backed by names such as Amazon and Sequoia with Uber now reportedly holding a more than 25% stake in the company following last month's deal. Aurora was co-founded by Chris Urmson, who headed Google's self-driving division for nearly eight years and is one of the most widely regarded names in the self-driving vehicle space.

Aurora didn't take long to announce its next move following the acquisition of ATG as the company signed a global strategic partnership with trucking giant PACCAR to bring a self-driving trucks powered by the Aurora Driver to market in the coming years.

The partnership will see the two companies develop, test and commercialize autonomous Peterbilt and Kenworth trucks. Kenworth T680 and Peterbilt 579 trucks running on the Aurora Driver are expected to be deployed in North America over the next few years.

"PACCAR looks forward to partnering with Aurora because of their industry-leading autonomous driving technology and impressive team," PACCAR CEO Preston Feight said. "This strategic partnership complements PACCAR's best-in-class commercial vehicle quality, technology and innovation."

The partnership is a win for Aurora, which says it has already been using PACCAR trucks for many of its test vehicles. Aurora will provide self-driving technology such as hardware, software and operational services, while PACCAR will use its more than 100 years of experience in the trucking sector to contribute autonomous-enabled vehicles and aftermarket parts distribution, finance and other transportation solutions.

"Working together, we've been impressed with PACCAR's product engineering, manufacturing capabilities, and commitment to enhancing its customers' operational safety and efficiency," Urmson said. "This partnership brings us one step closer to unlocking the autonomous freight market and delivering goods to those who need them."

If successful, the partnership could be further applied to other models under the Peterbilt and Kenworth brands, while also expanding outside of the U.S. through PACCAR's other brands such as Dutch truck manufacturer DAF Trucks.

Fresh off its deal to acquire Uber's self-driving unit, Aurora now has the perfect partner in PACCAR to help accelerate the development and commercialization of autonomous trucks globally.

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