Peterbilt Showcases First Self-Driving Model 579 Calling it the ‘Future of Trucking’
Las Vegas, NV — Peterbilt is showcasing its first self-driving Model 579 this week at the Consumer Electronics Show.
In a release, the truck maker said its first 579 equipped with the Aurora Driver, a Level 4 advanced autonomous system, developed by California self-driving tech startup Aurora, is the “future of trucking.”
PACCAR, parent company of Peterbilt and Kenworth, entered into a partnership agreement with Aurora in January of 2021 to develop what it described at the time as “truly driverless-capable trucks.”
The first two models slated to be produced at scale are the Peterbilt 579 and the Kenworth T680.
“Our partnership with PACCAR to co-develop self-driving Class 8 trucks builds on a deep technical foundation and years of collective expertise, said Sterling Anderson, Aurora Chief Product Officer and Co-founder. “The team is making progress as we prepare to launch Peterbilt’s first autonomous trucks at scale.”
Jason Skoog, Peterbilt General Manager and PACCAR Vice President, said the new 579 equipped with Aurora’s self-driving technology will provide customers with the “very highest level of safety systems and technologic advancements.”
Aurora has been testing its Aurora Driver-equipped PACCAR semi-trucks, along with a fleet of Chrysler Pacifica mini-vans, in the Dallas-Forth Worth area since 2019.
The company recently completed $1.8 billion business combination with Reinvent Technology Partners Y, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).
In a blog post celebrating that deal, Aurora CEO Chris Urmson created some buzz when he said truckers should begin preparing now for a “transition to various new positions” needed to “support fleets of self-driving trucks in the U.S. and abroad.”
The tech startup, now trading under the ticker symbols NASDAQ: AUR and NASDAQ: AUROW, plans to launch its autonomous commercial trucking business, Aurora Horizon, in late 2023, followed by its driverless ride-hailing business, Aurora Connect, in 2024.
Additionally, Aurora is partnered with Volvo Trucks and intends to produce the Volvo VNL at scale by 2023.