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Aurora, Volvo is the latest partners on self-driving heavy trucks


Global heavy truck manufacturers are lining up technology partners for assisting to manufacture autonomous systems for long-haul freight that might witness an extensive commercial service well to the prior of self-driving robotaxis.

The latest alliance was announced on Tuesday among Sweden’s Volvo Group and California-based Aurora Innovation, building on a working relationship that dates back to several years, the partners said.

Analysts anticipate more such partnerships, as relatively young technology firms just like Aurora connect their autonomous vehicle systems knowledge along with the great production experience of companies like the Volvo Trucks.

You cannot go at it solo in autonomy, the trucking industry is totally a different personality than the passenger vehicle business, along with different necessities, announced Grayson Brulte, president of consultancy Brulte & Company. 

Most of the larger truck producers have switched to self-driving tech partners, driven in part by a chronic shortage of drivers as well as a boom in e-commerce, fueled by the global pandemic.

In January, Aurora announced a strategic collaboration along with U.S. truck maker PACCAR, whose brands consist of Peterbilt and Kenworth.

Aurora’s founders consist of self-driving veterans from Tesla and Alphabet’s Waymo. The previous year Aurora had announced that its first commercial product would be in trucking where the market is big (and) the unit economics are remarkable.

In 2020, Waymo Chief Executive John Krafcik addressed the media saying that goods delivery is a comparatively bigger market than moving people as Waymo widened its focus to explore heavy trucks.

Germany’s Daimler has made a self-driving truck alliance with Waymo, meanwhile, FAW Jiefang, which is China’s largest truck maker, has collaborated with Plus AI.

Volkswagen’s Traton truck group is an investor in TuSimple, as is U.S. truck maker Navistar.

In a January earnings call, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk had announced the long-term delay in the Semi electric truck is more likely to be the first company’s vehicles to acquire full  self-driving capability.

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