For the next two weeks, package deliveries in the Southwest could get to your doorstep by way of robo-truck.
Starting Tuesday, self-driving truck company TuSimple is taking on a U.S. Postal Service (USPS) route between the national postal service’s Phoenix and Dallas distribution centers – that’s more than 1,000 miles the mail trailers cover throughout Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.
Several autonomous trucks will run for 22 hours, including night driving, with a safety engineer and driver on board for five round-trip delivery hauls. These types of routes (long-haul with quick turnaround) usually require a two-member driving team since it goes overnight.
TuSimple is a Chinese startup that started testing in Arizona a few years ago and is slated to have 50 autonomous trucks in its fleet by next month. Now it hopes to show with the USPS pilot that its robo-trucks can handle these labor-intensive routes. Then USPS (or other trucking partners) can keep shorter, closer-to-home routes for human drivers. Those routes tend to be more complicated and require more nuance.
USPS could cut down costs if it can deploy trucks for longer hours,…