Self-driving vehicles were always imagined to be a thing of the future. Well, the future is here. A company that specializes in self-driving technology will start testing supply trucks that drive themselves in Arizona later this year.
The company, known is as TuSimple, is based out of Beijing, China as well as San Diego, California. This firm has entered a partnership with a supplier that will test this self-driving technology on a supply truck over a 120-mile drive that stems from Tucson to Phoenix, Arizona.
The Vice President of TuSimple’s self-driving technologies, Chuck Price, estimates that this testing will happen during the first half of this year. He spoke about this endeavor, stating, “By September, we will move to [operating for] a commercial shipper of cargo to generate revenues.”
The plan is for these trucks to function on a high level automation system. With this system in place, the trucks will drive without the need of humans manning the vehicle. However, there are some exceptions that will pop up during this 120-mile trek that will require human intervention. While in the beta process, there is still a need for human control during instances such as a traffic jam. Due to this necessity, Price confirms that there will be a driver behind the wheel during this initial Arizona run.
TuSimple has run these types of tests successfully in the past. Just last year, the company ran a trial in China on what they describe as a “Level 4 system.” Similarly, a 200-mile run was done from their headquarters in San Diego last year all the way to Yuma, Arizona.
While TuSimple does not manufacture these trucks themselves, they are in charge of all the technology and computer software responsible for the vehicles’ functionality. Nonetheless, TuSimple does plan to eventually develop all the self-driving trucks themselves. Price summarized these goals by saying, “Our plan is to be the first commercial [Class 8] operator. It’s not our goal to just do demos and get acquired. We build technology that really works. We want to be out of Silicon Valley where there is pressure to get bought.”