However much Boris Johnson would like to see this solution delivered tomorrow, it is unlikely that we’ll see any DAF XF trucks driving themselves around the UK’s roads any time soon. Whereas, in the US, DAF’s parent company PACCAR and FedEx have begun an extensive field test with self-driving trucks.

Paccar US Truck - Peterbilt
The technology being used in the trucks, the highways in the US and the way in which the vehicles will be deployed all differ from the situation in Europe

The vehicles will be driven on the route between Dallas and Houston – a journey of around 400 kilometres. The self-driving technology has been jointly developed by PACCAR and Aurora with the aim of improving road safety and transport efficiency.

At the start of the year PACCAR teamed up with Aurora, an American technology firm specialised in self-driving technologies. Now FedEx has decided to join the partnership as well. It marks the first collaboration between a truck manufacturer, a self-driving technology developer and a logistics enterprise.

Public Highways

The self-driving trucks will transport goods for FedEx between Dallas and Houston on the public highways, including on one of the most important routes in the southern states: the I-45. Although the vehicles will be self-driving, there will also be a driver in the cabin who can take control of the truck at any moment, thereby guaranteeing road safety at all times.

Progress Made

“PACCAR is delighted to be working on this innovative project together with renowned companies like FedEx and Aurora,” says John Rich, PACCAR Chief Technology Officer. “The decision by FedEx to join up is proof of the enormous progress PACCAR and Aurora have made in the development of self-driving trucks.”

DAF and the US field test

The technology being used in the trucks, the highways in the US and the way in which the vehicles will be deployed all differ from the situation in Europe. Nonetheless, DAF will certainly benefit from the knowledge gained by PACCAR, Aurora and FedEx.