TuSimple making three to five fully-autonomous trips per day in Arizona

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In response to growing commercial demand from 12 contracted customers, TuSimple has announced that it currently has 11 trucks operating fully autonomously in the U.S., with plans for that number to reach 40 by June.

TuSimple has also announced that right now, it makes three to five fully-autonomous trips per day for customers on three different routes in Arizona, with another route from Arizona to Texas expected to launch early next year.

According to TuSimple, it is the only self-driving truck company running daily fully-autonomous commercial routes from depot-to-depot, which requires highway driving, as well as local street driving.

This week during CES 2019 in Las Vegas, TuSimple will display a Navistar International LT semi-truck, which will not only highlight the company’s self-driving (Level 4) perception system, but also showcase what TuSimple trucks 'see' while driving autonomously.

“Exactly one year after debuting our prototype system at CES 2018, we're now running up to five commercial trips a day in Arizona, expanding our fleet and moving quickly toward our goal of creating the first commercial self-driving truck,” says Dr. Xiaodi Hou, founder, president and chief technology officer, TuSimple.

TuSimple has also announced that it is working with Tier 1 suppliers such as global power leader Cummins Inc. TuSimple is working with Cummins to enable powertrain integration with its autonomous technologies.

With nearly 100 years of technological innovation in engines, components and controls, Cummins played an integral role in developing the industry standard interface between powertrains and autonomous systems.

“We are making tremendous progress towards the commercialization of our technology and trucking ecosystem with key Tier 1 partners like Cummins,” Hou adds. “The viability and power of our autonomous truck solutions is being proven daily on highways and local streets.”

TuSimple notes that the trucking industry is currently facing a shortage of 50,000 drivers. Additionally, the industry is approaching a 100 percent turnover rate per year with an average driver age of 49 years old.

​With the shortage of drivers and high turnover rate, TuSimple points to a PwC study that shows that autonomous trucking technologies will reduce annual operating costs for a traditional average long-haul truck by 28% in 2025. With this in mind, TuSimple is looking to transform the U.S. trucking industry—valued at $740-billion—by cutting costs, reducing carbon emissions and getting rid of some of the challenges that operators currently face.