Mega Carriers Partner with TuSimple in Historic Deal to Run Driverless Trucks Nationwide
San Diego, CA – Four of trucking’s biggest and most powerful companies are partnering with a self-driving truck maker with the goal of expanding driverless truck operations nationwide by the end of 2024.
On Wednesday, TuSimple, a global autonomous trucking technology company, announced the launch of the world’s first Autonomous Freight Network (AFN).
The company described its AFN as “an ecosystem consisting of autonomous trucks, digital mapped routes, strategically placed terminals, and TuSimple Connect, a proprietary autonomous operations monitoring system.”
“Our ultimate goal is to have a nationwide transportation network consisting of mapped routes connecting hundreds of terminals to enable efficient, low-cost long-haul autonomous freight operations,” said Cheng Lu, President, TuSimple. “By launching the AFN with our strategic partners, we will be able to quickly scale operations and expand autonomous shipping lanes to provide users access to autonomous capacity anywhere and 24/7 on-demand.”
Partnering with TuSimple in the launch of the AFN are UPS, Penske Truck Leasing, U.S. Xpress (which operates a fleet of 7,000 trucks) and McLane, a Berkshire Hathaway company and one of the largest supply chain services leaders in the United States.
Virtual Drivers… A Better Way Forward?
In a promotional video titled “A Better Way Forward,” released with the announcement of the AFN, TuSimple poses the following:
What if technology could change the world for the better? What if we could create a virtual driver who never drinks, never texts and never gets tired? What if you could transport freight coast-to-coast in 36 hours? What if you had nearly unlimited freight capacity? What if we could distribute more foods and supplies to more people faster? What if you could make trucks more efficient and reduce their carbon footprint? What if you could stabilize and protect supply chains against the unexpected? What if you could lower the cost of freight transportation by 30%?
WATCH the video below.
Three Phase Plan to go Nationwide by 2024
The AFN will roll-out in three phrases, and promises to lay the groundwork for self-driving autonomous trucks to become commercially available by 2024:
• Phase I (2020-21) will offer service between the cities of Phoenix, Tucson, El Paso, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.
• Phase II (2022-23) will expand AFN service from Los Angeles to Jacksonville and connect the east coast with the west.
• Phase III (2023-24) will expand driverless operations nationwide adding major shipping routes throughout the lower 48 states allowing customers to utilize their own TuSimple equipped autonomous trucks on the AFN by 2024.
TuSimple intends to replicate a similar strategy in Europe and Asia after the AFN rolls out nationwide.
As Transportation Nation Network (TNN) reported earlier this week, TuSimple has hired investment bank Morgan Stanley to help raise $250 million from investors in an effort to continue to scale its operations.
USDOT Helping Blaze The Path to Nationwide Acceptance
A backdrop to today’s announcement is the United States Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) stated objective to lead the world in the development and deployment of autonomous vehicles.
The USDOT is working in concert with technology makers to speed public acceptance of autonomous driving technologies.
Click HERE to read more on the USDOT’s latest effort.