It became known that UPS used autonomous trucks to deliver goods.
Testing of new delivery technologies began in May of this year between the cities of Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona. This was made possible through a collaboration with startup TuSimple, in which the startup's trucks transported mail over a 1,000-mile stretch between USP distribution centers. The project has already ended, but the parties are already discussing the possibility of new experiments. The delivery giant also announced that its venture arm is acquiring a minority stake in TuSimple. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Founded in 2015, TuSimple uses Navistar trucks, which are equipped with its own self-driving technology based on a 9-camera system. While other autonomous car developers typically use lidars, the startup has focused on developing a vision-based autonomous system like the one Tesla has used. TuSimple is already backed by Nvidia and Chinese tech company Sina.
Today, there are a number of startups and companies working on autonomous trucking, from Kodiak and Einride to Waymo and Daimler (Uber closed its program last summer after one of its test autonomous vehicles killed a pedestrian). TuSimple is one of the few developers specializing in commercial cargo, albeit with limited capabilities and only on a few routes.
The partnership with (and participation in) TuSimple is just one sign that UPS is committed to securing the future of its business, especially as Amazon builds its own delivery infrastructure. UPS is working on a delivery service using unmanned aerial vehicles, and is actively using electric vehicles. Now it has become known about unmanned trucks.