TuSimple, a global autonomous-driving technology company, has expanded autonomous truck service for current customer UPS to 20 trips per week. The company also added a route between Phoenix, Arizona, and El Paso, Texas. The company said 10 runs per week are on the new route; the other 10 runs are on an established route between Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona.
Autonomous trucks are achieving 10% fuel savings during operations for UPS when compared to traditional truck operation with human drivers, TuSimple said. Last December, TuSimple announced research results from the University of California, San Diego, that showed its autonomous driving technology significantly reduces the fuel consumption of heavy-duty trucks.
“We partnered with TuSimple to explore autonomous technology for our Global Smart Logistics Network, which aims to improve network efficiencies, safety, and customer service,” said UPS Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer Scott Price. “TuSimple has been instrumental to this initiative, so it was a logical next step for us to expand the test to additional routes within our North American Freight Forwarding lanes.”
UPS Ventures made a first-of-its-kind strategic investment in autonomous ground transportation when it invested in TuSimple in August of last year after a successful ongoing pilot program that started in March of 2019. The addition of a new route and an expanded number of runs is a vote of confidence for TuSimple, the copmany said, as it works to expand its autonomous capabilities and demonstrate the first driverless operation in 2021.
“UPS has been a valued partner of ours since we officially started working together early last year,” said Chuck Price, chief product officer, TuSimple. “This deep relationship shows the company’s commitment to innovation and exemplifies why UPS is considered a trailblazer when it comes to exploring and implementing cutting-edge technology.”
TuSimple is aiming to transform the $800 billion U.S. trucking industry by improving safety, increasing efficiency, reducing operating costs and carbon emissions. The company has 18 contracted customers and makes approximately 20 autonomous trips per day. Company officials have promised a true “depot-to-depot” driverless truck.