UPS Has Been Using Self-Driving Trucks To Deliver Packages

0 Posted by - 30th September 2019 - Technology

UPS delivery service has partnered up with autonomous trucking startup TuSimple – a union that has brought self-driving trucks to American roads! Sounds scary? Surprisingly, it’s safer and the trucks have already been out and about driverlessly delivering cargo between Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona (a 115-mile stretch) for months.

Prior to working with UPS, TuSimple ran a partnership with the United States Postal Service (USPS) in May. Mail was being transported as a pilot project on the 1,000-mile stretch between the USPS’s Phoenix, Arizona, and Dallas, Texas, distribution centers.

TuSimple is a fairly new company, founded in 2015 and headquartered in San Diego, California and Beijing China. The vehicles it uses are Navistar trucks outfitted with their very own self-driving technology. The system sees the world mostly though a set of 9 cameras and a pair of LIDAR sensors to feel its surroundings.

The vehicles operate at “Level 4” autonomy, as measured by the Society of Automotive Engineers’ “Levels of Driving Automation” standard. What this means is that the trucks can fully drive themselves but a driver and engineer are required to be stationed in the driver and front seats of the vehicle at all times, ready to take manual control in case something goes awry.

For now, state law (in Arizona) requires a driver to be behind the wheel of any kind of self-driving vehicle with an on-board computer that’s in full control of its operation. However, TuSimple still hopes to go fully autonomous and take humans out of the cabin altogether by the end of 2020 – something it is on track to do, according to TuSimple President Xiaodi Hou.

UPS using autonomous trucks to deliver packages. Credit: TuSimple
Credit: TuSimple

Of all the TuSimple trucks being tested on the roads today, none have reported any complications or accidents. The same cannot be said for the traditional trucking industry: 987 truckers died on the job in 2017 in America alone, while thousands more were injured by traffic accidents, moving heavy cargo or other job-related duties. These figures don’t even include non-truck drivers who were killed or injured in accidents involving large trucks.

TuSimple’s goal is to provide a safer and more economical option for companies who ship goods. The startup has promised UPS that its self-driving trucks will be able to reduce the costs of shipping goods by 30% – and they are already proving to be less dangerous than human-driven long-hauls.

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read more at by Andrea D. Steffen