TuSimple plans ‘driver-out’ public tests by year end

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Autonomous trucking developer TuSimple says it is on course to conduct its first driver-out test on public roads by the end of the year.

Company president and CEO Cheng Lu said, “Our fleet drove 840,000 miles in the quarter, bringing our cumulative road miles to 5.4 million. Our team is making significant progress toward removing the driver for runs over the 80-mile route between the Phoenix and Tucson areas. We expect to perform the initial ‘driver-out’ [no safety driver]runs before year-end and to complete the pilot program over the coming months.”

Lu noted that the driver-out pilot will consist of multiple runs performed over multiple weeks: “It is a major part of our ongoing technology development across many dimensions, including software, hardware and go-to-market. What makes the driver-out pilot program so challenging is that we’re solving for both known and unknown factors that we might encounter on public roads. This includes non-compliant motorists, unplanned road construction and changing driving conditions, all of which must be continuously monitored and accounted for in real time. Safe operations require autonomous driving technology beyond anything previously undertaken.”

TuSimple has so far completed 1,800 trips with safety drivers, covering 150,000 road miles. “We continue to see improvement in the system’s hardware and software performance,” added Lu. “I am pleased to share that the hardware quality challenges we discussed last quarter are now resolved. We expect to freeze our technology development in the coming weeks so the system can move to the validation phase.”

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he oversees Automotive Powertrain Technology and Professional Motorsport World magazines as editor.

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