Driverless trucks with no humans on board will soon cruise Texas highways if three startup firms have their way, despite objections from critics who say financial pressures, not safety, is behind the timetable.

After years of testing, Aurora Innovation Inc., Kodiak Robotics Inc. and Gatik AI Inc. expect to remove safety drivers from trucks that are being guided by software and an array of sensors including cameras, radar and lidar, which sends pulses of light that bounces off objects. The companies have already hauled cargo for big names such as Walmart Inc., Kroger Co., FedEx Corp. and Tyson Foods Inc.

“At the end of the year, we anticipate getting to the point where we begin operating those trucks without drivers on board,” Chris Urmson, co-founder and chief executive officer of Pittsburgh-based Aurora, said in an interview

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