USPS Testing Self-Driving Trucks In North Texas

Steven Pickering
May 21, 2019 - 6:06 pm
Tu Simple truck PR

Tu Simple truck PR

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DALLAS (KRLD) - The U.S. Postal Service is testing self-driving trucks on a long-haul mail route between Dallas and Phoenix, Arizona. The test program started today and will run for the next two weeks.

The USPS has contracted with a California-based company called TuSimple to operate the trucks. "The Postal Service wanted to challenge us with a real route that they use, and we liked it because it was challenging," said Robert Brown with TuSimple. "The USPS is looking for the future to get more efficient from an environmental perspective and also potential cost savings," said Brown. "That's why they're interested in this type of technology - not just in TuSimple but in autonomous vehicles in general.

The trucks will operate on I-30 and I-20 in north Texas - and on I-10 from west Texas to Phoenix. "It's a huge freight corridor so it's a good route for the Postal Service, but it's also a good route that we could open up for other customers - so it's an ideal working space. We think it could be the first real 'sweet spot' for autonomous trucks where you have that long-haul, long stretch of highway corridor...where you get beyond hours of service and really see a return on investment in autonomy," Brown said. 

The trucks will have a certified driver behind the wheel along with an engineer in the cab to monitor the autonomous systems. Brown predicts that most drivers who pass the trucks on the highway probably will not notice any difference from other vehicles.