FedEx and self-driving vehicle technology company Aurora Innovation, Inc. have expanded their autonomous trucking pilot program in Texas to include a commercial lane between Fort Worth and El Paso, the companies said this week.
The expansion is ahead of schedule and continues a project that began last September, in which the companies started hauling freight on Aurora’s autonomous trucks between Dallas and Houston. They continue to make those trips daily, and have added weekly trips on the new Fort Worth-El Paso lane.
The companies say the success of the pilot program is driving the expansion. To date, Aurora’s autonomous deliveries have been 100% on time, delivering packages to thousands of FedEx customers every day. The trucks operate in all weather conditions, and completed deliveries during the 2021 peak holiday shipping season. Together, Aurora and FedEx have completed 60,000 miles with zero safety incidents, officials said in a press release about the project expansion.
Aurora’s self-driving trucks are based on the Peterbilt 579 model; they use Aurora Driver, the company’s self-driving technology product. All trips are made with a safety driver on board, the companies said.
The companies said they expect to increase the delivery frequency on the Fort Worth and Houston lane in the coming months.
“Some time ago, I was asked why the general public should care about autonomous trucking. This is why. In six months of working with FedEx, we’ve safely, reliably, and efficiently transported packages for tens of thousands of FedEx customers,” Sterling Anderson, Aurora’s co-founder and chief product officer, said in the release. “This lane expansion came ahead of schedule and we’re delighted to continue building the future of trucking with one of the country’s biggest and most important transportation companies.”
Rebecca Yeung, corporate vice president, operations science and advanced technology, for FedEx added: “We look forward to our continued work together as we test further integration of autonomous technology into our operations to build a collaborative, robust network of solutions to respond to growing customer demand.”