Paccar has announced it has made a strategic alliance  in autonomous driving technology company Aurora, and one of the World’s largest freight and logistic companies, FedEx, to launch a commercial pilot of autonomous trucks in linehaul operations.

Paccar is hailing this as  the first collaboration of its kind between a truck manufacturer, an autonomous technology developer and a logistics provider.

Paccar started last week in trails of autonomously enabled trucks configured with Aurora autonomous driver, haul FedEx loads between the two Texan cities of Dallas and Houston, a round trip of about 800km along the Interstate-45 corridor.

The trucks will operate autonomously, with a backup driver for additional safety according to the company.

“Paccar is pleased to partner with industry leaders FedEx and Aurora on this innovative project,” Paccar chief technology officer, John Rich said.

“As leaders in our respective fields, we have critical and unique perspectives on how to develop and deploy safe, self-driving truck solutions for this industry,” said Sterling Anderson, Aurora chief product officer.

“This collaboration allows for the creation of a cohesive and integrated product and service. We believe there is no other credible way to deliver this complex and valuable technology at scale,” he added.

“FedEx was built on innovation, and we always anticipate what’s next to be future-ready,” said Rebecca Yeung, FedEx Corporation vice president for advanced technology and innovation.

“This is an exciting, industry-first collaboration that will work towards enhancing the logistics industry through safer, more efficient transportation of goods and we are pleased to collaborate with other industry leaders – Aurora and Paccar – on this endeavor,” she added.

In January this year, Paccar  announced a strategic alliance with Aurora to develop, test and commercialise autonomous Peterbilt and Kenworth trucks.

The company said  that the strategic alliance will integrate Paccar’s autonomous vehicle platform with the Aurora Driver to enhance the safety and operational efficiency of Paccar ’s customers.

“This new commercial pilot collaboration demonstrates the excellent progress that Paccar  and Aurora are making in our strategic alliance,” added John Rich.