Volkswagen’s plans for autonomous driving and electromobility do not only apply to passenger cars. The German automaker wants to introduce modern technology also to trucks.
Traton Group, a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group, and TuSimple, a San Diego based self-driving technology company focused on heavy-duty trucks, are entering into a global partnership to develop self-driving trucks.
Currently, engineers from Traton and TuSimple are working together on the development of Level 4 autonomous driving systems for trucks of Traton brands, which can achieve full automation without human intervention under defined driving conditions and applied in all markets. The two firms indicated that automated driving offers advantages in terms of safety and efficiency while reducing fuel consumption and operating costs.
Traton said it plans to test new models in Sweden, Germany, and other countries. The company expects that this will compensate for the shortage of drivers. According to the experts cited by Traton, there is a shortage of 60 thousand drivers in Germany alone. The company did not specify when the trials would begin and did not disclose the size of the stake it acquired in TuSimple.
For TuSimple, this is the first unmanned truck agreement in Europe. In July, the startup entered into a similar agreement with the American truck manufacturer Navistar International Corp. TuSimple raised $215 million this year in its next round of funding. The company’s investor, in particular, was the venture investment division of United Parcel Service Inc.