TuSimple self-driving trucks is starting a short pilot program with the US Postal Service. They will complete five round trips between Phoenix and Dallas using autonomous semis operated by TuSimple. Letters and packages moving between Phoenix and Dallas will travel on customized Peterbilt trucks run by TuSimple.
The Postal Service spends more than $4 billion per year on highway trucking services through outside contractors. Those costs have been rising due to a national shortage of drivers. Self-driving trucks could save hundreds of millions by eliminating human drivers and the hours-of-service rules that keep them from driving round the clock.
In 2017, the Postal Service reported a plan to add semiautonomous mail trucks — Autonomous Rural Delivery Vehicles — to its 228,000-vehicle fleet as early as 2025.
Today, TuSimple has three to five fully autonomous, revenue-generating trips a day for over a dozen customers on three different routes in Arizona. By June the TuSimple US fleet will grow to 11 to 50 trucks. They plan to end 2019 with 200-truck fleet in the U.S. and a 300-truck fleet in China. This might make them the largest self-driving truck solutions company in the world.
There are many competing self-driving truck companies Thor Trucks, Pronto.ai, Aurora, Embark, Swedish driverless car company Einride and many more.
There could be 6,700 self-driving trucks around the world by the end of this year with a total of cost of over $50 billion. The world cargo transportation industry wants to save over $70 billion a year and boosting productivity by 30 percent or more. There is currently a shortage of 50,000 truck drivers in the US alone. By 2026, the shortage of truck drivers is projected to reach 175,000.
On average, there have been 3,513 fatal crashes and over 75,000 injury crashes per year involving large trucks since 2010. Self-driving trucks will be safer and will reduce deaths and injuries.
The USA has 3.6 million heavy-duty Class 8 trucks and over 3.5 million truck drivers.
TuSimple was founded in 2015 with the goal of making full self-driving truck driving solutions. They have raised $178 million in funding. they use computer vision, algorithms, mapping, and artificial intelligence (AI). The TuSimple solution will allow freight to be moved with greater safety and improved cost efficiency.
TuSimple has the first 1,000-meter perception system. They use an eight-camera array and other sensors. At highway speeds, 1000 meters provides 35 seconds of reaction time, enabling the system to make the safest and most efficient driving decisions. Lidar (Laser Radar) have a range of 250-300 meters. The TuSimple trucks maintain position to a three-centimeter precision.
They have AI capable of long-distance highway driving and complex surface street driving – enabling fully autonomous deliveries from one depot to another.
The system works even in bad weather conditions like rain or snow.
SOURCES – TuSimple, Bloomberg
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com