UPS buys into autonomous driving firm

UPS venture capital arm UPS Ventures has made a minority investment in an autonomous driving company called TuSimple.

TuSimple and UPS have been testing self-driving HGVs on a route in Arizona. One of the interests of UPS is efficiency of the vehicle – does it work more efficiently than a manned vehicle? The investment is an extension of the existing commercial relationship between the two firms.

The logistics giant went to TuSimple to look at the requirements for Level 4 Autonomous driving on its network. Level 4 is where the vehicle’s computer is in full control at all times, with no driver intervention. Current laws require a driver to be in the vehicle at all times in case the computer needs intervention.

The tests involve real-world truckloads of UPS parcels between Phoenix and Tucson.

“UPS is committed to developing and deploying technologies that enable us to operate our global logistics network more efficiently,” said Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer, Scott Price.

“While fully autonomous, driverless vehicles still have development and regulatory work ahead, we are excited by the advances in braking and other technologies that companies like TuSimple are mastering. All of these technologies offer significant safety and other benefits that will be realized long before the full vision of autonomous vehicles is brought to fruition – and UPS will be there, as a leader implementing these new technologies in our fleet.”

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