UPS Testing Self-Driving Trucks in Arizona

UPS has teamed with autonomous trucking company TuSimple to haul cargo between Phoenix and Tuscon.  The self-driving trucks have been driving up and down the route since May. According to a press release, UPS’s venture capital arm has also purchased a minority stake in the startup.

TuSimple uses Navistar trucks equipped with the company’s own self-driving tech. Onboard LIDAR sensors and nine cameras help the trucks navigate the roads and avoid anything that may get in the way. The trucks are able to operate in all kinds of weather conditions.

TuSimple’s self-driving tech boasts the industry’s first 1000 meter perception system. During highway driving, 1000 meters allows the autonomous truck 35 seconds to react helping to make the safest and most efficient driving decisions.

Self-Driiving Truck UPS TuSimple Arizona
credit: TuSimple

UPS Self-Driving Trucks Will Have Humans OnBoard for Safety

During the pilot program, the trucks will have a human driver and an engineer on board as a safety precaution and due to state law. TuSimple and UPS will also monitor distance the trucks travel autonomously, safety data and transport time.

“TuSimple’s mission is to bring the first self-driving truck to market, to increase safety, decrease transportation costs and reduce carbon emissions. TuSimple develops technology that will allow shipping companies to operate self-driving class 8 tractor-trailers–those that exceed 33,000 pounds and typically have three or more axles,” said UPS in a press release.

TuSimple Autonomous Truck Drives in Storm With Human Monitors Onboard

TuSimple Has Delivered USPS Mail Between Phoenix and Dallas

The startup, which has offices in San Diego and Beijing, also counts Nvidia and Chinese tech company Sina as backers. Previously, TuSimple had run a test program with the United States Postal Service.

Their trucks carried mail on a 1,000-mile stretch between USPS distribution centers in Phoenix, Arizona, and Dallas, Texas. For deliverers that use third-party trucking companies during peak seasons, TuSimple believes it could cut average purchased transportation costs by 30%.

“The work with autonomous driving company TuSimple began with the goal of helping UPS better understand the requirements for Level 4 Autonomous trucking in its network. L4 Autonomous means the vehicle’s onboard computer is in complete control at all times, eliminating manual intervention. Currently, however, laws regulating L4 Autonomous driving require a driver in the vehicle at all times to take over operation if needed,” said the press release.

additional sources: TheVerge

Check out our articles on an autonomous shuttle in Providence, Rhode Island and a hospital robot assisting nurses.