UPS Quietly Using Self-Driving Trucks For Months

-edited

UPS teamed up with TuSimple in May for autonomous delivery of cargo.

Gizmodo reports UPS Has Been Delivering Cargo in Self-Driving Trucks for Months And No One Knew.

UPS announced on Thursday that its venture capital arm has made a minority investment in TuSimple. The announcement also revealed that since May TuSimple autonomous trucks have been hauling UPS loads on a 115-mile route between Phoenix and Tucson.

UPS confirmed to Gizmodo this is the first time UPS has announced it has been using TuSimple autonomous trucks to deliver packages in the state.

Around the same time as the UPS and TuSimple program began, the United States Postal Service and TuSimple publicized a two-week pilot program to deliver mail between Phoenix and Dallas, a 1,000 mile trip.

TuSimple claims it can cut the average cost of shipping in a tractor-trailer by 30 percent. In an announcement about the new partnership, UPS Ventures managing partner, Todd Lewis, said the venture arm “collaborates with startups to explore new technologies and tailor them to help meet our specific needs.”

UPS would not share the terms of the deal with Gizmodo. TuSimple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

TuSimple puts its own autonomous tech—which relies on nine cameras and two LIDAR sensors—in Navistar vehicles.

TuSimple Video

Zero engagements in a storm.

TuSimple is now hooked up with both UPS and the US Post Office (USPS).

On February 16, I commented Self-Driving Truck Startup "TuSimple" Confident of Commercial Driverless by 2021.

The company’s cameras can see about 1,000 meters, or 3,280 feet ahead, said Chuck Price, TuSimple’s chief product officer. “From a half mile away we can spot emergency vehicles, cars broken down on the side of the road, people walking around,” said Price.

We are confident that we will have our first commercial driverless operation in late 2020 to 2021,” Mr. Price said.

Technology Not the Holdup

For now there are backup drivers. That will change within the next two years.

The main holdup is not technology but federal legislation.

Commercial driverless will be here by the end of 2021 if federal regulation allows, which I expect.

Then, within a few years of federal regulatory approval, most interstate highway truck traffic will be driverless.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (40)
No. 1-12
themonosynaptic
themonosynaptic

You're looking more and more prescient on this subject Mish. The savings are estimated at 30%, but is that per trip, or will the cost savings of being able to run trucks 24/7 (i.e. not mandated driver stops) also kick in and lower costs further? Does anybody have a detailed breakdown of the savings? I'm assuming the up front costs will be greater.

Mish
Mish

Editor

I do not have a breakdown. If the 30% includes the cost of the equipment, the investment would pay itself off in about three years. I will write them to see if I can get an answer.

thimk
thimk

I'm all for self driving trucks. Currently, they rule the interstate highways. Maybe trucks tailgating me during bad weather will stop.

Sechel
Sechel

drivers eventually get replaced with security guards

shamrock
shamrock

More testing with human drivers in the truck. Doesn't seem like much of an advance.

Bam_Man
Bam_Man

What is to prevent hijacking of these driver-less vehicles if there is no on-board security?

Mish
Mish

Editor

"What is to prevent hijacking of these driver-less vehicles if there is no on-board security?"

Why does this totally absurd and debunked question keep coming up?

Let me answer with a question: Where the F is the truck going, how fast, and how fast can it be unloaded?

The moment the truck is not where it is supposed to be, police will be notified. So the truck itself is going nowhere. Its movements will be recorded.

How does one stop the truck in the first place? Even assuming someone manages, the same signal will be sent.

OK how fast can the truck be unloaded? To what vehicle? And what about cameras.

Then the truck is on the interstate with govt agencies notified. They may even have helicopters.

Please stop the absolute bullshit. This is getting tiring.

Mish
Mish

Editor

"I'm not supporting the hijacking argument, but does the truck never stop for gas? Seems like that would be a good point."

At least we have a new question.

The truck will stop at a hub. It will be locked. There will be other people around, so it would take collusion to break in.

The truck cameras would record it even if someone managed to turn off the hub cameras.

No one will have access to the truck other than to refuel it, change the oil, etc. Cargo bays locked.

The amusing thing about all of this is it will be MORE secure, not less.

The notion that a driver alone prevents hijacking seems downright silly.

Balloons, women on roller skates etc. stopping a truck is silly.

Yes, some idiot is bound to try. will get caught immediately, and that will be the end of the stupid idea.

FelixMish
FelixMish

Did anyone notice in the video that the cruise control seemed to not keep that truck at a very steady pace? @Trucking 84 Maybe you know. Is a rig hard to keep locked in at highway speed, but slower than the flow, in light traffic on a flat freeway?

Realist
Realist

As has been stated by many on this blog, on many previous occasions: human ingenuity has been replacing and changing jobs for hundreds of years already. This is just one more example. And though there is always hardship for those who get displaced, in the long run, the world benefits. We would not have the standard of living today if we hadn’t innovated over the last 300 years. We would still be living off the land, farming behind a horse and plough, living in cabins with no electricity or running water.

You can’t stop progress because you can’t stop human ingenuity.

Driver1
Driver1

Is there any data on collision technology? How does a driverless vehicle handle accidents with other motorist? Sideswipes or rear end collisions? Types that are not necessarily the driverless vehicles fault? Even major collisions ? How is that handled? Do vehicles have sensors for when another vehicle swipes it or even just hits it mirror. Or even rear ended by a car. Sometimes u barely feel that type of collision if car rear ends your trailer at slow speed but it does major damage to the other car.

SaratogaBob
SaratogaBob

I noticed that the two men in the truck were Asian, maybe Chinese. They also look rather young. Most likely they are s/w engineers. And, probably damn good ones.

I am wondering if autonomous vehicle technology is something that the US will try to protect. Will the Chinese monitor the US development and then steal the technology?

Mish, you probably know -- is China investing in autonomous vehicle technology as aggressively as the US?

Bob