TuSimple's autonomous semitruck recently completed the world's first driverless trip, which saw the vehicle travel 80 miles in Arizona without a safety person at the wheel or any human intervention.
The nighttime drive on December 22 started at a railyard in Tucson, traveled along 1-10 for one hour and 20 minutes, and ended at a distribution center in Phoenix.
Along the journey, TuSimple's Autonomous Driving System (ADS) successfully navigated surface streets, traffic signals, on-ramps, off-ramps, emergency lane vehicles, and highway lane changes in open traffic while naturally interacting with other motorists, according to the company.
This trip is also the first time a class 8 autonomous truck has operated on open public roads and TuSimple says this is only the beginning of its technology's abilities.
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Cheng Lu, President and CEO, TuSimple, said in a statement: 'By achieving this momentous technical milestone, we demonstrated the advanced capabilities of TuSimple's autonomous driving system and the commercial maturity of our testing process, prioritizing safety and collaboration every step of the way.
'This test reinforces what we believe is our unique position at the forefront of autonomous trucking, delivering advanced driving technology at commercial scale.'
The company, founded in 2015 in San Diego, focuses on developing autonomous driving technology for the trucking industry.
TuSimple says that drivers represent about 40 percent of all trucking operational costs and that its virtual driver 'can be operated for significantly less.'
The company also estimates that its technology saves about 10 percent on fuel-related costs compared to human-driven trucks.
During the 80-mile journey, a lead vehicle scouted the route for unexpected obstacles about five miles ahead of the autonomous semi.
Another vehicle trailed behind on-half miles that was prepared to intervene if necessary.
TuSimple says it has 70 autonomous trucks globally and two million miles of road testing completed.
The truck uses the company's own perception technology that allows it to see 360 degrees around the vehicle and more than 3,000 feet away.
And its system is capable of performing 600 trillion operations per second.
Over the last one and a half years, TuSimple has completed 1,800 runs that accumulate to 150,000 miles along I-10 in order to prepare for the truck's lone journey earlier this month.
And the company, plans to continue testing its driver-out program into 2022.