by Tiana May
06 Jan 2022
TuSimple has successfully completed the world’s first fully autonomous semi-truck run on open public roads. The route was completed without a human in the vehicle and with no human intervention.
The route started at a rail yard in Tucson, Arizona, and the truck then travelled more than 80 miles at night to a high-volume distribution centre in Phoenix. TuSimple’s autonomous driving system successfully interacted with other motorists throughout the 1 hour 20 minute journey. The vehicle navigated the surface streets, traffic signals, emergency lane vehicles, and highway lane changes without issue.
This journey marks the first time a class 8 autonomous truck has operated on open public roads without a human in the vehicle and without human intervention or traffic intervention.
“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, prioritising safety and collaboration every step of the way. This test reinforces what we believe is our unique position at the forefront of autonomous trucking, delivering advanced driving technology at commercial scale.”
TuSimple worked closely with government regulators and law enforcement to ensure the test was carried out safely. A TuSimple survey vehicle was used to look for anomalies ahead, while an oversight vehicle followed, which could have put the autonomous truck in a minimal risk condition if necessary. Law enforcement vehicles were also used as an additional safety precaution.
TuSimple’s test programme will continue throughout the year ahead. Their “Driver Out” pilot programme aims to develop an L4 autonomous semi-truck that could safely take the driver out while travelling on public roads. This journey, completed on 22 December 2021, was therefore a milestone in the company’s autonomous trucking operations.
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