UPS’ venture capital arm, UPS Ventures, made a minority stake investment in autonomous driving developer TuSimple, UPS announced today. With this investment, the companies are working together to test self-driving tractor trailers in Arizona.
UPS and TuSimple initiated self-driving tests in May 2019 on a route between Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona. During the tests, UPS provides truckloads of goods for TuSimple to transfer between the cities.
Currently a driver and engineer are onboard the vehicle to monitor its self-driving performance, in line with laws regulating L4 Autonomous driving laws. Current law requires a driver in the vehicle at all times to take over operation if needed.
“While fully autonomous, driverless vehicles still have development and regulatory work ahead, we are excited by the advances in braking and other technologies that companies like TuSimple are mastering,” UPS Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer Scott Price said. He continued, “All of these technologies offer significant safety and other benefits that will be realized long before the full vision of autonomous vehicles is brought to fruition – and UPS will be there, as a leader implementing these new technologies in our fleet.”
UPS and TuSimple did not release data on the timeline for testing and assessment but did say the tests are intended to help UPS better understand the requirements for Level 4 trucking in its network. With this the integrator will determine whether the vehicles can improve service and efficiency in its network. TuSimple estimates its driverless trucking could reduce average transportation costs by 30%.