TuSimple Strikes Deal to “Mass Produce” Driverless Trucks
San Diego, CA – An autonomous trucking technology company promising to begin driverless truck operations next year is partnering with a leading automotive supplier in its quest to commercialize autonomous truck technology.
The partnership, which the companies say will begin in April 2020, will cover the world’s largest markets including North America, Europe and China.
TuSimple and ZF will co-develop production-quality technologies including cameras, LiDAR, radar, steering and ZF’s automotive-grade central computer ZF ProAI.
At the same time, ZF says it will support TuSimple’s pre-production driverless autonomous system, and will ultimately serve as the default supplier for their production-ready system for commercialized vehicles.
Chuck Price, Chief Product Officer with TuSimple, called the partnership an “important milestone” as the company prepares to “bring autonomous-ready trucks to market.”
Price is famously (or infamously) known for pronouncing TuSimple would begin to put truck drivers out of work as soon as this year.
Transportation Nation Network (TNN) has reported extensively on TuSimple’s stated goal of beginning to replace team drivers by 2021.
TuSimple believes long-haul routes with short turnaround times are well suited for self-driving trucks which is why the company acknowledges it is zeroing in on replacing team truckers first.
Price says TuSimple’s partnership with ZF will also help speed the mass production of autonomous trucks.
“Working side-by-side with ZF to refine and integrate our production-ready technology has allowed us to optimize our hardware stack and focus on scaling these technologies to make it possible for autonomous ready trucks to be mass produced,” he said.
Torsten Gollewski, Executive Vice President Autonomous Mobility Systems at ZF, agrees with Price and promises the collaboration will produce the “first commercial-ready automotive grade autonomous truck technology platform.”
“Our integrated solutions enable the next generation of mobility, and we are thrilled to partner with TuSimple, a leader in autonomous trucking,” said Gollewski. “A key success factor for virtual driver software is to ensure the system is based on an automotive grade level, including component development and production.”
TuSimple currently operates a fleet of more than 40 autonomous trucks, has 18 contracted customers and makes 20 autonomous trips between Arizona and Texas for companies like UPS every week.
The company vows to start driverless operations in 2021.
Photo courtesy TuSimple