A truck equipped with TuSimple‘s self-driving technology has completed an 80-mile route in Arizona – without any human intervention.
The San Diego company says it’s the first successful fully-autonomous run by a class 8 vehicle, or semi, on open public roads with no human intervention.
The nighttime trip earlier this month started at a railyard in Tucson, Arizona and ended at a distribution center in Phoenix with approval and supervision from the Arizona Department of Transportation and law enforcement.
A lead vehicle scouted the route for unexpected obstacles about five miles ahead of the autonomous semi, and a trailing vehicle following about one-half mile behind the truck was prepared to intervene if necessary.
According to TuSimple the semi successfully navigated highway lane changes, traffic signals, on-ramps, and off-ramps while “naturally interacting with other motorists.”
Cheng Lu, TuSimple CEO, commented: “This test reinforces what we believe is our unique position at the forefront of autonomous trucking, delivering advanced driving technology at commercial scale.”
As of mid-December, DHL Supply Chain has reserved 100 autonomous trucks to integrate into its operations, bringing TuSimple’s total reservations order to 6,875 trucks. The Traton Group, Volkswagen AG’s heavy truck business, has also penned an agreement with TuSimple to co-develop self-driving trucks.
Image credit: TuSimple
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