UPS tests self-driving tractor trailers with TuSimple

UPS Ventures, the venture capital arm of UPS, has invested in a minority stake in autonomous driving company TuSimple

22 August 2019 - 19:00

UPS Ventures, the venture capital arm of UPS, has invested in a minority stake in autonomous driving company TuSimple. They are testing self-driving tractor trailers on a route in Arizona to ascertain whether the vehicles can boost services and efficiency in the UPS network.

UPS and TuSimple already have a commercial relationship as UPS has purchased transportation services from TuSimple.

The work with TuSimple started 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. At present, laws regulating L4 Autonomous driving require a driver in the vehicle at all times to assume control if needed, reported AJOT.

Throughout the ongoing tests, UPS has been providing truckloads of goods for TuSimple to carry on a North American freight forwarding route between Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona. The company initiated self-driving service in May, with a driver and engineer in the vehicle. TuSimple and UPS monitor distance and time the trucks travel autonomously, safety data and transport time.

'While fully autonomous, driverless vehicles still have development and regulatory work ahead, we are excited by the advances in braking and other technologies that companies like TuSimple are mastering,' said UPS chief transformation officer Scott Price.

'All of these technologies offer significant safety and other benefits that will be realized long before the full vision of autonomous vehicles is brought to fruition.'

TuSimple develops technology that enables shipping companies to operate self-driving class 8 tractor-trailers - those that exceed 33,000 pounds and typically have three or more axles. The company believes its technology could lower average purchased transportation costs by 30 per cent.

'TuSimple is confident that it can accelerate bringing the first self-driving truck to market to increase road safety,' said founder Xiaodi Hou.

UPS's tests with TuSimple are part of an advanced technology evaluation for vehicles in the UPS Global Smart Logistics Network. UPS is investing in Internet of Things (IoT) technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and advanced analytics to increase fuel efficiency and improve customer service.


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