UPS has been using self-driving trucks for months - no one knew

TuSimple  Youtube
A Tu Simple truck is seen here

TuSimple Youtube A Tu Simple truck is seen here

Underscoring a rapid expansion of self-driving technology in commercial vehicles rather than autonomous taxis, several analysts were quoted saying following UPS's Thursday's (August 15th) statement that the investment of UPS ventures over a small start-up, UPS's venture capital wing, had been pointing towards a quicker-than-anticipated growth in self-driving delivery services, as Amazon.com Inc., world's largest e-commerce retailer had been increasing its bets on self-driving commercial vehicles alongside Robo-run warehouses. The announcement also revealed that since May TuSimple autonomous trucks have been hauling UPS loads on a 115-mile route between Phoenix and Tucson. The trials began in May and include a driver and an engineer in the vehicle.

It could take years and years to test and develop self-driving autos and for the government to construct out a regulatory framework. TuSimple and UPS monitor distance and time the trucks travel autonomously, safety data and transport time.

Founded in 2015, TuSimple is using deep learning to bring self-driving trucks to market, to increase safety, decrease transportation costs and reduce carbon emissions.

The TuSimple technology aims to allow the operation of self-driving tractor trailers that exceed 33,000 pounds and typically have three or more axles.

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UPS contracts with third-party trucking companies during its peak shipping season. TuSimple believes it could cut average purchased transportation costs by 30%.

"We are honoured by UPS's strategic investment and their vote of confidence in TuSimple, this proves their commitment to staying at the forefront of innovation", said TuSimple's founder, president and chief technology office Xiaodi Hou, in a press release. The deal also comes as the United States and China are duking it out for supremacy in a range of new AI technologies, such as autonomous driving, smart city infrastructure and next generation mobile networks.

UPS said it is investing in Internet of Things technology, artificial intelligence and advanced analytics to increase fuel efficiency and improve customer service. "TuSimple is confident that it can accelerate bringing the first self-driving truck to market to increase road safety". The group now seeks specific capabilities that UPS can integrate into its network immediately. However, UPS sees the funding as a method to apply autonomous driving options like lane departure expertise, superior braking systems or sensor technology in its fleet in the short term, mentioned Todd Lewis, the managing associate at UPS Ventures.

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