Spotted: An autonomous truck developed by self-driving technology experts TuSimple has successfully completed a test route between Tuscon and Phoenix, Arizona, USA. TuSimple is working with commercial partners to build and operate autonomous delivery routes.
TuSimple plans to have a fully autonomous fleet in action by 2024, if not sooner. The recent successful drive shows the level of capability the technology has reached, with the truck navigating on and off ramps, traffic signals, highway lane changes, and more.
Arizona is positioning itself as a leader in driverless technology, and autonomous vehicles are not new in the state. Google’s subsidiary Waymo has been running driverless taxis in Phoenix since 2020. But driving large vehicles on highways poses unique challenges compared to urban driving. The high speed of the roads and the size of the vehicles mean that the implications for safety are far higher. It’s therefore no surprise that unmarked police vehicles followed behind the truck during the test as a precaution.
Autonomous freight networks could significantly reduce trucking emissions, with vehicles able to run more efficiently. Without a human driver, trucks need to stop only for refuelling or maintenance. For operators, the AI used in the technology may help to reduce insurance premiums if safety increases with the removal of human error.
Trucking is particularly impacted by the labour shortages most industries are facing. As an essential part of the supply chain, increasing driving capability could help reduce worldwide shortages of a huge range of goods.
Autonomous driving technology is developing rapidly, with Springwise spotting racing drones capable of defeating human pilots in races and long-range submarines capable of exploring deeper and further than ever before.
Written by: Keely Khoury