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An All-Star-Led Startup Increases Paccar’s Chances of Survival in The Autonomous Electric Age

By Tasha Keeney, Analyst

This week Aurora partnered with Paccar to create and deploy autonomous trucks “within the next several years”. Aurora is an autonomous technology startup led by Chris Urmson, former Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Self-Driving Cars at Google, as well as Sterling Anderson, former Autopilot head at Tesla, and Drew Bagnell, founding member of Uber’s Advanced Technology Group. In our opinion, highly respected truck manufacturer Paccar will help Aurora scale the number of electric and autonomous trucks on public roads much faster than otherwise would be the case. As a result, Aurora’s autonomous system could be trained on more real-world scenarios than will those of most other truck manufacturers except perhaps for Tesla. Important to both Aurora and Paccar, fully integrated, purpose-built autonomous vehicles are likely to perform much better than the combination of outsourced autonomous systems and manufactured trucks.

According to ARK’s research, the transportation industry will consolidate dramatically during the transition to autonomous electric platforms. ARK estimates that autonomous electric trucks could lower freight transportation costs from 12 cents to roughly 3 cents per ton mile, undercutting rail prices and potentially putting $400 billion in fixed rail assets at risk.

Catherine Wood, ARK Invest CEO, is a shareholder of 24/7 Wall St. LLC.