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Paccar, Aurora Set Deal to Develop Autonomous Trucks

Maker of Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks to pursue autonomous freight market.
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PACCAR Inc.  (PCAR) - Get PACCAR Inc Report and Aurora, an autonomous vehicle startup that recently acquired Uber Technologies’  (UBER) - Get Uber Technologies, Inc. Report driverless vehicles division, said Tuesday they will cooperate to develop and commercialize autonomous trucks for use in freight transportation.

The companies said they will work to integrate “PACCAR’s autonomous vehicle platform with the Aurora Driver to enhance the safety and operational efficiency of PACCAR’s customers.”

PACCAR shares rose $4.79 or 5.4%, to $94 in after-hours action. The stock gained 1.2% in the regular session.

Under the partnership, PACCAR will supply versions of its Peterbilt and Kenworth trucks, while Aurora will provide its hardware, software and operational services, according to a statement. Kenworth T680 and Peterbilt 579 trucks utilizing the Aurora Driver are expected to be deployed in North America in the next several years, according to the statement.

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“PACCAR looks forward to partnering with Aurora because of their industry-leading autonomous driving technology and impressive team,” said Preston Feight, PACCAR chief executive officer, in the statement. “This strategic partnership complements PACCAR’s best-in-class commercial vehicle quality, technology and innovation.”

Aurora acquired Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group, the ride-hailing company’s driverless vehicle division, in December, reportedly for around $4 billion. Uber’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, also took a seat on Aurora’s board of directors.

Uber had long sought to develop autonomous vehicles to complement its ride-sharing business. However, the development program ran into problems after a fatal accident in Tempe, Arizona in 2018. With the onset of the Coronoavirus pandemic last year, Uber’s core ride-hailing business was hurt badly, ultimately forcing it to offload its autonomous vehicle development.

However, autonomous vehicles remain a key technology goal for many companies, from Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report to Amazon.com Inc.  (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report, which bought Zoox, another startup in the space, last year for about $1.3 billion.