Posted on February 27, 2019
TuSimple, the autonomous truck developer, plans to expand its U.S. test fleet to 40 trucks by June 2019. This announcement was made during the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), where the company displayed their Navistar International LT model. This vehicle has been outfitted with automated driving technology which allows it to “perceive and interpret” it’s surroundings. Chuck Price, Vice President of product at TuSimple, stated “Last year we announced our intent to build a 200-truck fleet. These 40 trucks that we’re acquiring [are] a down payment on that.”
TuSimple has dual headquarters located in Beijing and San Diego, as well as a testing facility in Tucson, AZ. As of today, the company operates 11 tractors in Arizona, but plans to begin freight hauling through New Mexico to Texas this year. Their trucks complete three to five trips a day with self-driving technology along three fixed routes in Arizona. An additional route from Arizona to Texas is to be added to start transportation of freight to cities like Austin, Dallas, El Paso, and Houston. The technology developer has been cited on growing demand for its freight-hauling services from its current contracted customers.
Currently, TuSimple’s self-driving vehicles have a backup driver behind the wheel. However, it is the company’s overall goal is to reach a point in which the vehicle is completely autonomous and removing a driver entirely. “Our main focus is on unmanned. We think that most of the fleets’ attention is on unmanned, and that is because one of the big problems they’re trying to solve is the driver shortage,” says Price. He believes that the company’s technology will be ready for “driver out” by 2020, but they will not be pulling drivers from the vehicles until all partners in the system have declared it to be ready. “We’re highly motivated to get the driver out when it’s safe…” says Price.
Contributor: Mary Winter
Clevenger, Seth. “TuSimple Proceeds with Plans to Build World's Largest Self-Driving Truck Fleet.” Transport Topics, Transport Topics, 16 Jan. 2019, www.ttnews.com/articles/tusimple-proceeds-plans-build-worlds-largest-self-driving-truck-fleet.
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