TuSimple, a San Diego, CA and Tucson, AZ-based autonomous driving company, received a minority investment from UPS (NYSE:UPS)’ venture capital arm, UPS Ventures.
The amount of the deal was not disclosed.
Founded in 2015 by President & CTO Xiaodi Hou, TuSimple aims to bring self-driving trucks to market, to increase safety, decrease transportation costs and reduce carbon emissions. The company develops technology that will allow shipping companies to operate self-driving class 8 tractor-trailers – those that exceed 33,000 pounds and typically have three or more axles.
Together, both companies are testing self-driving tractor trailers on a route in Arizona to determine whether the vehicles can improve service and efficiency in the UPS® network. This is an extension of the ongoing commercial relationship between UPS and TuSimple in which UPS has purchased transportation services from the company.
The work with TuSimple began with the goal of helping UPS better understand the requirements for Level 4 Autonomous trucking in its network. L4 Autonomous means the vehicle’s onboard computer is in complete control at all times, eliminating manual intervention. Currently, however, laws regulating L4 Autonomous driving require a driver in the vehicle at all times to take over operation if needed.
Throughout the ongoing tests, UPS has been providing truckloads of goods for TuSimple to carry on a North American Freight Forwarding route between Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona.
The company initiated self-driving service in May, 2019, with a driver and engineer in the vehicle. TuSimple and UPS monitor distance and time the trucks travel autonomously, safety data and transport time.