UPS’s venture capital arm, UPS Ventures, has announced it has made a minority investment in autonomous driving company TuSimple following the successful trial of self-driving tractor trailers on a route in Arizona. This is an extension of the ongoing commercial relationship between UPS and TuSimple, in which UPS has purchased transportation services from TuSimple.
The work with autonomous driving company TuSimple began with the goal of helping UPS better understand the requirements for Level 4 Autonomous trucking in its network. L4 Autonomous means the vehicle’s onboard computer is in complete control at all times, eliminating manual intervention. Currently, however, laws regulating L4 Autonomous driving require a driver in the vehicle at all times to take over operation if needed.
Throughout the ongoing tests, UPS has been providing truckloads of goods for TuSimple to carry on a North American Freight Forwarding route between Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona.
“UPS is committed to developing and deploying technologies that enable us to operate our global logistics network more efficiently,” said Scott Price, UPS chief strategy and transformation officer. “While fully autonomous, driverless vehicles still have development and regulatory work ahead, we are excited by the advances in braking and other technologies that companies like TuSimple are mastering. All of these technologies offer significant safety and other benefits that will be realized long before the full vision of autonomous vehicles is brought to fruition – and UPS will be there, as a leader implementing these new technologies in our fleet.”
TuSimple’s founder, president and CTO, Xiaodi Hou, commented, “We are honored by UPS’s strategic investment and their vote of confidence in TuSimple; this proves their commitment to staying at the forefront of innovation. TuSimple is confident that it can accelerate bringing the first self-driving truck to market to increase road safety.”
UPS’s tests with TuSimple are part of an advanced technology evaluation for vehicles in the UPS Global Smart Logistics Network. UPS is investing in IoT technology, artificial intelligence and advanced analytics to increase fuel efficiency and improve customer service.