TuSimple Holdings Inc., a technology company for self-driving trucks, announced Wednesday that it is mapping new freight lanes with UPS from Arizona to Florida and has achieved significant fuel savings for parcel deliveries at highway speeds.
TuSimple said it has scored 160,000 miles since 2019 in transporting cargo for UPS’s North America Air Freight (NAAF) division – part of its supply chain business – and achieved 13% fuel savings at speeds between 88.5 km and 68 miles per hour . The routes for this UPS unit are typically between an airport and a UPS facility.
TuSimple shared the data from its operation with UPS, which also has a stake in the technology company for self-driving trucks.
According to the American Transportation Research Institute, fuel accounts for 24% of the cost per mile for heavy trucks, the largest item after driver wages and benefits, which account for 42% of the cost.
“A reduction in fuel costs by more than ten percent would mean billions in savings for the entire US truck industry,” Cheng Lu, chief executive officer of TuSimple, told Reuters.
“We must not lose sight of the environmental and efficiency gains that this technology is already showing,” he said. “This shows that our technology drives more efficiently than human drivers.”
TuSimple’s network began in Arizona and the company expanded in the southeastern United States.
A national, autonomous US freight network is to be established by 2024.
Self-driving technology for trucks has caught the attention of investors as it should be easier and cheaper to adopt than self-driving cars and robotic axles, while offering a clearer path to profitability.
Self-driving freight services operate on fixed routes between predefined points – mostly on highways with no intersections or pedestrians – and require less mapping than shuttling customers between random points in robotic taxis.