Under the hood of autonomous trucking in Tucson
by Jeff Gardner Tucson Weekly
On Aug. 10, 2018, a semi-truck drove between Tucson and Phoenix without any human intervention. That truck will grow into a fleet of 50 vehicles by June.
These long-haul semi-trucks, operated and programmed by technology company TuSimple, still have humans onboard in case of an emergency. But that may not be the case for long.
“We are actively sorting out our schedule, and aiming for 2020 or early 2021 to deliver fully-automated vehicles,” said Vivian Sun, senior director of business development at TuSimple.
The company’s mission is to bring the first self-driving truck to the market. According to them, this would increase safety, decrease transportation costs and reduce carbon emissions. But how will these technological advancements affect Tucson, and can they coexist with the multiple long-haul trucking agencies in town?
TuSimple’s autonomous semi-trucks currently have two humans onboard: an engineer and a driver. But depending on future regulations and their customer’s wishes, TuSimple may completely remove humans from the driving process by as early as next year.