TuSimple is an autonomous trucks company based in San Diego, California, and according to both companies (USPS and TuSimple) the first testing period will last two weeks. Two of TuSimple’s autonomous truck will transfer mail between the southwestern cities of Phoenix – Arizona and Dallas – Texas. The trucks will make five routes between the cities and each will cover a distance of about 3,300 km.
The aim of the tests is to determine whether autonomous driving can reduce transport times, costs, and whether it can improve road safety in such journeys. TuSimple said that the autonomous truck will not go out on the streets alone, on all routes there will be a driver, so he can at any time take control of the vehicle. In addition, the passenger seat will be seated by an engineer who will take notes.
The autonomous truck are equipped with a camera system that sees approximately 1,000 meters of road. According to the company, this provides 35 seconds of reaction time, giving the system enough time to calculate the safest and most effective decisions for the situation.
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The main objective of the programme is to eliminate the need for lorry drivers for various reasons. Initially, the USA is currently facing a shortage of lorry drivers. Then, such long journeys are never carried out by a driver, something that increases considerably the cost.
Autonomous truck that run such long distances do not have the need for detailed mapping, because they will not be asked to deal with complex crossover situations, and so on. This considerably reduces the cost of autonomous lorries, which, thanks to their equipment, may prove to be more secure than humans, on such long journeys.