UPS has made an investment in autonomous vehicle company TuSimple as the two companies trial a self-driving tractor trailer on roads in Arizona.
TuSimple’s technology is being used to ferry truckloads of UPS goods on a route between the cities of Phoenix and Tucson. The companies monitor metrics such as time and distance travelled as well as safety data.
Through its work with TuSimple, UPS said it aims to understand the requirements for how fully autonomous trucking can be used in its network. Laws currently necessitate a driver being present in autonomous vehicles at all time.
UPS said it is investing in the internet of things, artificial intelligence and advanced analytics to increase fuel efficiency and improve customer service. Founded in 2015, TuSimple believes its technology can reduce the costs of shipping goods by tractor trailer by 30%.
Scott Price, chief strategy and transformation officer: “UPS is committed to developing and deploying technologies that enable us to operate our global logistics network more efficiently.
“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 realised 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.”
Xiaodi Hou, president and CTO of TuSimple, said: “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 Ventures managing partner Todd Lewis said: “The UPS Ventures mission is to build collaborative relationships with early-stage companies that provide capabilities and insights that accelerate technological advancements within our network.
“UPS Ventures collaborates with startups to explore new technologies and tailor them to help meet our specific needs.”