When the CEO of FedEx, the global leader in logistics, promises “an enormous effort towards autonomous trucks” this summer, wisdom — conventional or otherwise — says listen up, things are about to get interesting.
Last year, FedEx joined forces with Aurora Innovation — the AV startup that acquired Uber’s self-driving unit in 2020 — and began a pilot program using self-driving trucks to haul goods between Dallas and Houston (with a safety driver on board). That partnership moved Aurora closer to its ambitious goal of launching an autonomous trucking business, without safety drivers, by the end of 2023.
FedEx’s summer teaser and Aurora’s progress toward its goal are just two reasons why we’re thrilled that Sterling Anderson, co-founder and chief product officer at Aurora and Rebecca Yeung, corporate VP of operations science and advanced technology at FedEx will join us onstage at TC Sessions: Mobility 2022 on May 18 and May 19 in San Mateo, California.
FedEx has been working internally on its own smaller-scale AV technology for several years. One project, a sidewalk delivery bot named Roxo, was a collaborative effort with DEKA Development & Research Corp. and its founder Dean Kamen, who invented the Segway and iBot wheelchair. Roxo made its debut in 2019.
As for its larger-scale autonomous projects, FedEx seems to be focused on partnerships — with Aurora for long-haul trucking, Nuro for deploying its autonomous bots for last-mile delivery at large scale and with China-based Neolix, where FedEx is testing on-road AV delivery.
Meanwhile, Aurora sped from buzzy startup to publicly traded company-via-SPAC in a span of four years (the deal closed in March, 2021). The company was founded in 2017 by Anderson, Drew Bagnell and Chris Urmson, all of whom have a history with automated vehicle technology.
In this conversation with Anderson and Yeung, we’ll check in on the status of the Dallas-Houston pilot and ask if there might be more collaboration ahead. We’ll try to get a sense of how long it will take driverless long-haul trucks to become a reality, what challenges remain to be solved and whether public confidence is one of those challenges.
Of course we don’t know whether Yeung will reveal FedEx’s big summer plan for autonomous trucking, but you can bet we’ll ask about it.
Don’t miss this in-depth conversation about the current and future state of autonomous trucking with Aurora’s Sterling Anderson and FedEx’s Rebecca Yeung.TC Sessions: Mobility 2022 breaks through the hype and goes beyond the headlines to discover how merging technology and transportation will affect a broad swath of industries, cities and the people who work and live in them. Register today before prices increase May15!