FedEx to invest heavily in autonomous vehicle research

FedEx’s founder and outgoing CEO Fred Smith has told a US media outlet that the company is to invest heavily in autonomous vehicles through the next year.

“You’ll see in late June an enormous effort towards autonomous trucks that move over the highway. Not in the city, where we think our drivers are better for the pickup and delivery of the long-distance vehicles,” Smith said in an interview on CNBC’s Mad Money.

“We are a long way down the road to doing that. But we’re not going to get rid of our drivers. They’ll do the pick up and delivery and the dredge, if you will, and over time, I’m very confident autonomous trucks are on the way,” he added.

FedEx worked in partnership with Chinese company Neolix to test autonomous delivery trucks in China last year. It has previously launched other initiatives with other AV companies such as Nuro, DEKA Development Research, Aurora and Paccar.

On Monday, FedEx announced its founder and CEO Fred Smith would stand down from his role and become executive chair. The current COO Raj Subramaniam is to replace him.

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