Driverless Truck Company Claims ‘World’s First Driver Out Fully Autonomous’ Test Run
San Diego, CA — Driverless truck company TuSimple claims it completed the “world’s first fully autonomous semi-truck run on open public roads without a human in the vehicle and without human intervention” this week.
In a press release on Wednesday, TuSimple claimed the run took place on Wednesday, December 22, from a rail yard in Tucson, AZ to a high-volume distribution center in the Phoenix-metro area.
The trip was more than 80 miles on surface streets and highways during the nighttime hours and took one-hour and 20 minutes, the company stated.
Along the journey, TuSimple said its 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.”
The trip 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,” according to TuSimple.
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, the company asserted.
It was done in “close collaboration” with the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and law enforcement.
“By achieving this momentous technical milestone, we demonstrated the advanced capabilities of TuSimple’s autonomous driving system and the commercial maturity of our testing process, prioritizing safety and collaboration every step of the way,” Cheng Lu, President, and CEO, TuSimple, stated following the trip. “This test reinforces what we believe is our unique position at the forefront of autonomous trucking, delivering advanced driving technology at commercial scale.”
Lu said the company was “laser-focused” in 2021 on putting its technology through a “rigorous test on open public roads under real-word conditions.”
He called the successful test run “extremely rewarding.”
TuSimple deployed a “survey vehicle” to look for anomalies operating over five miles ahead along with an “oversight vehicle” operating behind the truck.
In addition, in what the company called an “extra layer of safety precaution,” law enforcement vehicles followed at a distance of 0.5 miles.
TuSimple released a video of the entire one-hour and 20-minute run, which includes interior, forward-facing and rear-facing cameras.
WATCH the full video below.