Published: Wed, May 22, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

United States Postal Service Teams Up With TuSimple For Driveless Truck Pilot

United States Postal Service Teams Up With TuSimple For Driveless Truck Pilot

Partnering with a venerable institution like the Postal Service will make people more comfortable with the idea of autonomous vehicles, TuSimple hopes, and perhaps allay public concerns about their safety. That's if a trial being carried out by the United States Postal Service (USPS) proves to be successful. Self-driving trucks could help the Postal Service save millions by eliminating human drivers and thus, skirting the hours of service regulations that govern how long humans can be on the road.

The U.S. Postal Service is experimenting with self-driving trucks to move mail across state lines.

"The work with TuSimple is our first initiative in autonomous long-haul transportation", USPS spokeswoman Kim Frum said. The safety driver is there to intervene if the self-driving technology fails.

The pilot program is using trucks from startup TuSimple to traverse a 1,000-mile route between distribution centers in Phoenix and Dallas.

We are conducting research and testing as part of our efforts to operate a future class of vehicles which will incorporate new technology to accommodate a diverse mail mix, enhance safety, improve service, reduce emissions, and produce operational savings.

This type of time-critical, longhaul route that typically requires team drivers is particularly well-suited to automation, said Chuck Price, chief product officer at TuSimple.

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I let that one go. "I think we're in a pretty good place with it". "The caution came back out again, same scenario". That was the last I saw of him, and then after the race, he comes and runs into my back and turns me all around.

The specific itineraries and budget for the test were not revealed, but TuSimple said the first delivery is leaving on Tuesday and the five runs would be completed over the next two weeks. It will allow the Postal Service to test TuSimple's Level 4 systems in both daytime and nighttime traffic.

The autonomous truck technology may be coming at exactly the right time. "It's a sweet spot for autonomy".

The company began operations in 2015 and recently announced it had raised $95 million in funding.

Long-haul routes are also the most hard to keep staffed with qualified drivers.

The fleet will grow from 12 trucks to 50 before the end of the year.

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