San Diego based TuSimple is breaking down barriers and will deliver freight with their autonomous 18-wheeler in a few months.
Since late December, the company reportedly completed seven trips between Tucson and Phoenix without a driver.
The company uses their 53-foot big rig to make the 80 mile trip on open, public roads, reports the San Diego Union Tribune.
The driverless demonstrations over the last month have been a test case for the company. At least to say, TuSimple’s autonomous driving technology works on the open road.
TuSimple’s autonomous technology is considered Level 4.
This means, TuSimple’s big rig requires no human in the vehicle but can only operate along a pre-defined, mapped route.
The trips between the two cities happened in early evening traffic and included there-and-back operations on the same night.
The next step for the company is to broaden the scope and include daytime runs and some new routes in Arizona.
However, their biggest challenge will be in the Spring. The company will deliver actual freight for Union Pacific.
Neither Union Pacific nor TuSimple revealed the financial terms of the agreement. Nor did they confirm how many driver-less freight trips per week the truck will make.
However, if successful, the Union Pacific deal will allow TuSimple to expand its commercial operations to new regions by the end of 2023.