Electronics and Semiconductors

FedEx to test autonomous linehaul trucking

24 September 2021
Self-driving trucks will operate autonomously to run along FedEx Dallas-Houston parcel lines, completing a nearly 500-mile round trip multiple times per week. Source: FedEx

FedEx Corp. will collaborate with autonomous technology vendor Aurora and Paccar, a medium- and heavy-duty vehicle manufacturer, on a pilot project to test autonomous vehicle platforms equipped on FedEx’s linehaul trucking operations.

This is being billed as a first-of-its-kind agreement to bring a logistics provider, self-driving vendor and truck manufacturer together to accelerate the development and scaled deployment of self-driving technology.

The pilot project will be run along FedEx Dallas-Houston parcel lanes, completing the nearly 500-mile round trip route multiple times each week. The trucks will operate autonomously with a backup driver for additional safety.

Growth in e-commerce

The growth of e-commerce has accelerated the need for transportation and logistics solutions in all stages of the supply chain. Currently, there is a driver shortage in the market as the workforce gets older and interest in long-haul trucking wanes in the market. Autonomous trucking is considered a way to not just tackle the job shortage, but to improve the safety of these vehicles.

Autonomous trucks are considered a solution to these challenges because trucks without a driver can operate more than double the hours every day, bring down the cost of transportation and reduce the thousands of lives lost in preventable accidents every year, which are generally caused by human error.

FedEx agrees and through automation aims to improve safety, efficiency and productivity for the company’s more than 560,000 team members worldwide.

Earlier this year, Aurora and Paccar formed a strategic partnership to build and deploy self-driving trucks at scale. The collaboration will incorporate the logistics of FedEx to help accelerate deployment.

To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com

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