UPS buys part of autonomous truck company

UPS buys part of autonomous truck company

TuSimple predicts 30% drop in goods shipping expenses with autonomous driving.


Atlanta, Georgia – Shipping giant UPS’ venture capital arm has purchased a stake in TuSimple, an autonomous driving technology company. The 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.

The investment extends an ongoing commercial relationship between UPS and TuSimple in which UPS has purchased transportation services from TuSimple.

The companies have been studying Level 4 Autonomous driving, a standard that says the vehicle can operate independently in most driving conditions. Level 4 vehicles may not be allowed to drive in some neighborhoods but do not require any human direction.

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.

“UPS is committed to developing and deploying technologies that enable us to operate our global logistics network more efficiently,” said Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer Scott Price. “While fully autonomous, driverless vehicles still have development and regulatory work ahead, we are excited by the advances in braking and other technologies that companies like TuSimple are mastering. All of these technologies offer significant safety and other benefits that will be realized long before the full vision of autonomous vehicles is brought to fruition – and UPS will be there, as a leader implementing these new technologies in our fleet.”

Founded in 2015, TuSimple’s mission is to bring the first self-driving truck to market, to increase safety, decrease transportation costs, and reduce carbon emissions. TuSimple believes it could cut average purchased transportation costs by 30%.

TuSimple Founder, President, and Chief Technology Officer Xiaodi Hou said, “TuSimple is confident that it can accelerate bringing the first self-driving truck to market to increase road safety.”

UPS’s tests with TuSimple are part of an advanced technology evaluation for vehicles in the UPS Global Smart Logistics Network. UPS is investing in Internet of Things (IoT) technology, artificial intelligence (AI), and advanced analytics to increase fuel efficiency and improve customer service.