USPS has awarded self-driving truck company TuSimple with a contract to haul the postal service’s trailers more than 1,000 miles between its Phoenix, Arizona, and Dallas, Texas, distribution centers using autonomous trucks over a two-week trial period.
During the trial, the trucks will have a safety engineer and driver on board to monitor vehicle performance and ensure public safety.
TuSimple will run a series of its self-driving trucks for 22 hours each, which includes overnight driving, along the I-10, I-20 and I-30 corridors to make the trip through Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. The I-10 corridor is one of the busiest freight routes in the USA and TuSimple expects this to be a central route for the company because there is already strong demand from other customers for runs between Arizona and Texas.
“It is exciting to think that before many people will ride in a robo-taxi, their mail and packages may be carried in a self-driving truck,” said Dr Xiaodi Hou, founder, president and chief technology officer, TuSimple.
“Performing for the USPS on this pilot in this particular commercial corridor gives us specific use cases to help us validate our system and expedite the technological development and commercialization progress.”
USPS is exploring the feasibility of utilizing autonomous delivery vehicle technology to reduce fuel costs, increase safe truck operation and improve its fleet utilization rate through longer hours of operation.