Self-driving truck crosses USA in record three days

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Plus.ai, a provider of self-driving trucking technology, has completed the first US coast-to-coast commercial freight run with an autonomous truck on behalf of Land O’Lakes. Spanning 2,800 miles (4,500km), Plus.ai’s Level 4 autonomous truck completed the hub-to-hub trip from Tulare, California to Quakertown, Pennsylvania, in less than three days. This is said to be the first Level 4 US cross-country commercial pilot hauling a fully loaded refrigerated trailer of perishable cargo.

The truck was equipped with Plus.ai’s advanced autonomous driving system, which utilizes multimodal sensor fusion, deep learning visual algorithms, and simultaneous location and mapping (SLAM) technologies. The company says the journey was an important milestone in validating the system’s ability to safely handle a wide range of weather and road conditions. The vehicle drove primarily in autonomous mode through the 2,800 miles across Interstate 15 and Interstate 70, passing through varied terrains and weather conditions. A safety driver was on board at all times to monitor and assume control if needed, and a safety engineer was present to monitor system operations.

On its continuous cross-country journey, the autonomous truck safely navigated driving day and night through the expansive plains of Kansas, winding roads of the Rockies, road construction, multi-mile tunnels, over 11,000ft (3,350m) elevation, and was greeted with rainy and snowy roads heading east.

“This cross-country freight run with Land O’Lakes shows the safety, efficiency and maturity of our autonomous trucks, which are already delivering freight for other partners several days a week,” said Shawn Kerrigan, COO and co-founder of Plus.ai. “Continued advances will make it possible for these quick cross-country runs to be the norm in the future. We are excited to demonstrate what our technology can already achieve today while meeting rigorous autonomous driving safety and food transportation compliance standards.”

“Self-driving and other emerging transportation technologies stand to completely reshape commercial shipping, so we are thrilled to collaborate with technology leaders like Plus.ai to pilot autonomous trucks for our shipping needs,” added Yone Dewberry, Land O’Lakes’ chief supply chain officer. “End of the year is a very busy time for us. To be able to address this peak demand with a fuel- and cost-effective freight transport solution will be tremendously valuable to our business.”

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