USPS to test autonomous long-haul trucks

TuSimple, an autonomous start-up based in San Diego, won the contract to test autonomous semi-trucks for the US Postal Service. Testing will take place on a relatively remote 1,600 km stretch of highway between distribution centres in Phoenix and Dallas. The trucks will make a total of 5 round-trips over a 2-week pilot program.

A team of two drivers is required to complete the same trip with one driver in the truck’s cab on backup. The semi has a Level 4 or High Automation rating, meaning there are backup controls but constant human attention is not required. For now, safety engineers on board will monitor the system and a human backup driver will ensure the trip goes smoothly. TuSimple aims to provide depot-to-depot service without drivers in the future.

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