Autonomous truck technology company TuSimple has successfully completed the world’s first fully autonomous semi-truck run on open public roads without a human in the vehicle and without human intervention.
The run, which took place on December 22, saw TuSimple’s upfitted autonomous semi-truck begin its journey from a large railyard in Tucson, Arizona. The vehicle traveled more than 80 miles (129 km) on surface streets and highways at night, safely arriving at a high-volume distribution center in the Phoenix metro area.
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. The drive lasted one hour and 20-minute and marked the first time a class 8 autonomous truck operated on open public roads without a human in the vehicle and without human intervention.
The test drive is part of an ongoing test program that will continue into 2022 and that sees the cooperation of the Arizona Department of Transportation, government regulators, and law enforcement.
The autonomous driving test was 100% operated by TuSimple’s ADS without a human on-board, without remote human control of the vehicle, and without traffic intervention.
“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,” said Cheng Lu, President, and CEO, TuSimple. “This year, we were laser-focused on putting our technology through a rigorous test on open public roads under real-world conditions, and to see all our hard work and dedication come together is extremely rewarding.”
To ensure public safety, TuSimple worked closely with government regulators and law enforcement and implemented a TuSimple survey vehicle to look for anomalies operating over five miles ahead, an oversight vehicle capable of putting the autonomous truck in a minimal risk condition (MRC) trailing behind, and law enforcement vehicles following at a distance of 0.5 miles as an extra layer of safety precaution.