- TuSimple has announced its plan to develop the world’s first network of autonomous freight delivery trucks across the US by 2024.
- The project will take place in three phases spanning from 2020 to 2024 and includes the creation of systems to connect customers to their live-time freight delivery, terminals, and digital routes.
- TuSimple has partnered with companies like UPS, Penske Truck Leasing, US Xpress, and McLane for the Autonomous Freight Network (AFN) project.
The obvious main attraction of TuSimple’s plan is the self-driving aspect, but the company’s Autonomous Freight Network (AFN) project doesn’t stop at just the development of technology necessary for autonomous trucking. TuSimple is also creating digital routes, terminals, and a monitoring system that tracks its trucks to create a well-rounded and safe autonomous network, according to the San Diego-headquartered company.
The development of the network will be separated into three phases that are marked by different time frames and expansion locations.
Phase one, which will take place between now and 2021, will bring — or has already brought in several locations — TuSimple autonomous trucking services to Phoenix and Tucson in Arizona, and El Paso, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio in Texas, while phase two set between 2022 and 2023 will expand the network coast-to-coast by creating a line from Los Angeles to Jacksonville, Florida.
The final phase three between 2023 and 2024 will be marked by a nationwide expansion to 48 states by the 2024 target. After all phases are complete, TuSimple will then move its operations abroad to Europe and Asia, according to the company
According to TuSimple, the AFN will be the world’s first autonomous network of trucks.
The company’s fleet currently includes 40 trucks in the US that have autonomous driving capabilities by using AI, sensors, and cameras around the truck.
This self-driving system can power a truck coast-to-coast in 36 hours, according to the company.
It also allows the trucks to operate in almost any weather condition during every hour and day of the year, according to the company.
The company has already been rolling out its autonomous network on the roads of Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona, and Dallas and El Paso, Texas.
This includes the daily journey from a Phoenix UPS shipping site to a Tucson TuSimple Terminal, a 128-mile drive on both the highway and side streets.
Despite the trucks’ self-driving capabilities, a human safety driver and engineer are present during the Phoenix to Tucson route.
TuSimple also plans to open a terminal in Dallas to allow “mid-sized customers” to use the autonomous trucks.
According to TuSimple, the autonomous system saves 10% of fuel compared to human-driven trucks, according to the company.
It also says the autonomous system reacts 15 times faster than a human operator while cutting 40% of operations-related costs attributed to paying drivers.
Besides UPS and Penske, TuSimple has also partnered with trucking fleet US Xpress and Berkshire Hathaway’s supply chain service company McLane for the AFN project.
TuSimple is currently headquartered in San Diego …
… and has offices in Beijing, Shanghai, and Tucson, Arizona.