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TuSimple successfully completes driver-out, fully autonomous semi-truck 80-mile run on open public roads

TuSimple, a global autonomous driving technology company, successfully completed the first fully autonomous semi-truck run on open public roads without a human in the vehicle and without human intervention. The run took place on 22 December and required TuSimple’s upfitted autonomous semi-truck to begin its journey from a large railyard in Tucson, Arizona, and travel more than 80 miles on surface streets and highways at night, safely arriving at a high-volume distribution center in the Phoenix metro area.

Along the journey, TuSimple’s Autonomous Driving System (ADS) successfully navigated surface streets, traffic signals, on-ramps, off-ramps, emergency lane vehicles, and highway lane changes in open traffic while naturally interacting with other motorists.

Uncut video of the full trip.

The one-hour and 20-minute drive is the first time a Class-8 autonomous truck has operated on open public roads without a human in the vehicle and without human intervention and is part of an ongoing test program that will continue into 2022.

The test was performed in close collaboration with the Arizona Department of Transportation and law enforcement. The autonomous driving test was 100% operated by TuSimple’s ADS without a human on-board, without remote human control of the vehicle, and without traffic intervention.

To ensure public safety, TuSimple worked closely with government regulators and law enforcement and implemented a TuSimple survey vehicle to look for anomalies operating over five miles ahead, an oversight vehicle capable of putting the autonomous truck in a minimal risk condition (MRC) trailing behind, and law enforcement vehicles following at a distance of 0.5 miles as an extra layer of safety precaution.

TuSimple’s “Driver Out” pilot program is the culmination of 1.5 years of work to develop an L4 autonomous semi-truck with the level of redundancy, reliability, and consistency to safely take the driver out on public roads. This is a critical first step in scaling autonomous trucking operations on the TuSimple Autonomous Freight Network (AFN).



Do we want 80,000 pound autonomous?


It is coming whether you want it or not. There is a shortage of truck drivers and no lack of economic drivers.


The way I see it, you might end up with a driver in the cab doing very little, except handling the bits from the depot to the motorway and from the motorway to the final destination.
However, it wouldn't be funny if something went wrong.


whether you want it or not
If millions of people say no it's no



I will say it again. It is going to happen whether you believe it or not. It may take a few more years than some are predicting but it is going to happen and the main driver why it will happen is economics. And once that it is proven to also be safer, there will be a real tipping point. Economics is the same reason why we will have battery electric delivery trucks and why we will have battery electric short haul aircraft, etc. Economics is the most powerful driver. It may be look good to go green but if you can go green and also save money, it will definitely happen.

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