UPS Quietly Using Self-Driving Trucks For Months
UPS announced on Thursday that its venture capital arm has made a minority investment in TuSimple. The announcement also revealed that since May TuSimple autonomous trucks have been hauling UPS loads on a 115-mile route between Phoenix and Tucson.
UPS confirmed to Gizmodo this is the first time UPS has announced it has been using TuSimple autonomous trucks to deliver packages in the state.
Around the same time as the UPS and TuSimple program began, the United States Postal Service and TuSimple publicized a two-week pilot program to deliver mail between Phoenix and Dallas, a 1,000 mile trip.
TuSimple claims it can cut the average cost of shipping in a tractor-trailer by 30 percent. In an announcement about the new partnership, UPS Ventures managing partner, Todd Lewis, said the venture arm “collaborates with startups to explore new technologies and tailor them to help meet our specific needs.”
UPS would not share the terms of the deal with Gizmodo. TuSimple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
TuSimple puts its own autonomous tech—which relies on nine cameras and two LIDAR sensors—in Navistar vehicles.
Zero engagements in a storm.
TuSimple is now hooked up with both UPS and the US Post Office (USPS).
On February 16, I commented Self-Driving Truck Startup "TuSimple" Confident of Commercial Driverless by 2021.
The company’s cameras can see about 1,000 meters, or 3,280 feet ahead, said Chuck Price, TuSimple’s chief product officer. “From a half mile away we can spot emergency vehicles, cars broken down on the side of the road, people walking around,” said Price.
“We are confident that we will have our first commercial driverless operation in late 2020 to 2021,” Mr. Price said.
Technology Not the Holdup
For now there are backup drivers. That will change within the next two years.
The main holdup is not technology but federal legislation.
Commercial driverless will be here by the end of 2021 if federal regulation allows, which I expect.
Then, within a few years of federal regulatory approval, most interstate highway truck traffic will be driverless.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock