TuSimple, an autonomous trucking startup with headquarters in San Diego and China, hopes 2019 will be the year that self-driving trucks become much more common on our nation’s interstates. The company already started moving goods in Arizona in 2018 with an autonomous fleet of 11 trucks, and they hope to grow this number to 40 by the end of this year.
Other major players in the autonomous trucking space, such as Waymo and Embark, still have human drivers behind the wheel to help navigate the vehicle—TuSimple does not. The main difference between TuSimple and their competitors is the set of autonomous vehicle engineering design standards (referred to as Level Four) defining the extent to which a car or truck can operate without a human driver. Vehicles like TuSimple’s trucks that meet the Level Four standards can operate without a human driver but only under certain conditions defined by certain factors such as ‘road type’ or ‘geographic area.’
“We’re the only one doing this extent of Level Four,” Robert Brown, Director of Government Affairs for TuSimple said.