UPS Joins Forces with Self-Driving Startup Promising to “Replace Truckers”

Atlanta, GA – Logistics behemoth UPS announced today it is getting into the autonomous trucking business.

According to the the company, its venture capital arm, UPS Ventures, has made a minority investment in autonomous technology developer TuSimple.

“UPS is committed to developing and deploying technologies that enable us to operate our global logistics network more efficiently,” said Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer, Scott Price.

 

Since May of this year, the companies have been working together to test self-driving tractor-trailers, UPS confirmed.

UPS says it has been providing truckloads of goods for TuSimple to carry on a North American Freight Forwarding route between Phoenix and Tucson, AZ.

UPS says the purpose of the testing is to “better understand the requirements for Level 4 Autonomous trucking in its network,” and to determine whether the vehicles can “improve service and efficiency in the UPS network.”

TuSimple and UPS monitor distance and time the trucks travel autonomously, safety data and transport time.

Though regulations currently require a human driver and engineer inside the vehicle, TuSimple’s Founder, President & CTO, Xiaodi Hou, believes that will soon change and is promising to provide commercially-viable self-driving trucks by 2023.

 

“TuSimple is confident that it can accelerate bringing the first self-driving truck to market to increase road safety,” Hou said in the UPS announcement.

Transportation Nation Network (TNN) reported earlier this year that Chuck Price, TuSimple’s Chief Product Officer, told the Houston Chronicle the company’s goal was to begin replacing truck drivers as soon as next year.


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TuSimple believes long-haul routes with short turnaround times are well suited for self-driving trucks which is why the company acknowledges it is zeroing in on replacing team truckers first.

In June, TuSimple successfully completed a two-week test delivering mail along a 1,000 mile route from Phoenix to Dallas for the United States Postal Service (USPS).

 

TuSimple representatives reported all deliveries were made ahead of schedule and without any traffic incidents.

During the USPS test, TuSimple ran its self-driving trucks for 22 hours each, which included overnight driving along the Interstate 10, 20, and 30 corridors.

TNN also reported earlier this year that TuSimple is currently operating under non-disclosure agreements with dozens of carriers, hauling three loads per day.

TuSimple is promising its trucks are safer for the motoring public and will reduce transportation costs for motor carriers and shippers by up to 30%.

To read the latest autonomous trucking news click HERE.
Photo courtesy TuSimple

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