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Uber, Aurora to expand self-driving truck ops in Texas to meet holiday rush

FILE PHOTO: A screen displays the company logo for Uber Technologies Inc in 2019

(Reuters) - Uber Technologies Inc and self-driving technology company Aurora Innovation Inc will expand their driverless pilot program in Texas to meet increased delivery demand during the holidays.

The program will be expanded to the recently launched 600-mile commercial lane between Fort Worth and El Paso in Texas to support customers of logistics business Uber Freight as it ships goods this holiday season, Aurora said on Friday.

Uber Freight is a platform which connects shippers who need goods moved with available truck drivers.

The companies launched their pilot program about a year ago to autonomously transport goods between Dallas and Houston.

"We're crafting Aurora Horizon to help carriers of all sizes alleviate some of the supply-chain pressures that typically accompany (holiday season)," Aurora co-founder Sterling Anderson said. Aurora Horizon is its truck-specific self-driving product.

Autonomous goods hauling has been seen as the future of logistics as it could increase truck utilization and boost transportation frequency between terminals.

Human truck drivers are not allowed to drive more than 11 hours per day in the Unites States.

Aurora Innovation, which also counts FedEx Corp and Toyota Motor Corp as partners, looks to launch the Aurora Driver self-driving platform at the end of 2024.

(Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)