TuSimple teamed up with UPS, Penske Truck Leasing, U.S. Xpress, and McLane to launch the Autonomous Freight Network, which it says will lay the groundwork for self-driving autonomous trucks to become commercially available by 2024. - Photo: TuSimple

TuSimple teamed up with UPS, Penske Truck Leasing, U.S. Xpress, and McLane to launch the Autonomous Freight Network, which it says will lay the groundwork for self-driving autonomous trucks to become commercially available by 2024.

Photo: TuSimple

U.S. Xpress announced an investment in TuSimple, a self-driving technology company developing autonomous solutions for long-haul freight transportation. In addition to a significant financial investment, U.S. Xpress is actively testing the technology on select shipping lanes, and President and CEO Eric Fuller has joined TuSimple’s Executive Advisory Board.

The amount of the investment was not disclosed.

“We’re passionate about finding innovative solutions to industry challenges, and investing now will give us a clear advantage when this technology matures in the years to come,” said Fuller in the announcement. “Additionally, the Executive Advisory Board is bringing together market-specific insight from across the industry to help drive the development and adoption of this important technology.”

U.S. Xpress has been working with TuSimple since 2019 and has recently begun testing the autonomous technology on select lanes for some of its major customers. From this testing, TuSimple can gather vital information and benchmark safety and efficiency standards which will help bring the technology to market safely and reliably.

“U.S. Xpress has been a valuable partner in the testing of our autonomous technology, and Eric will continue to provide expert guidance in helping drive the adoption of autonomous trucks as a member of our Executive Advisory Board,” said Cheng Lu, CEO, TuSimple.

U.S. Xpress President and CEO Eric Fuller is on TuSimple's recently announced Executive Advisory Board, - Photo: U.S. Xpress

U.S. Xpress President and CEO Eric Fuller is on TuSimple's recently announced Executive Advisory Board,

Photo: U.S. Xpress

In a press statement, U.S. Xpress said that although the industry will always have a need for professional drivers, shortages caused by reduced CDL school graduates and the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse are impacting the industry in both the near- and long-term (see the company’s recent economic forecast). Autonomous trucks will give U.S. Xpress additional options for its shippers and "fold into a robust portfolio of solutions," the company added.

Last year, the company introduced its tech-enabled digital fleet and in coming months will be rolling out a new brokerage offering. The Chattanooga, Tennessee-based truckload carrier said the TuSimple partnership is part of its transformation from a traditional trucking company to a true digital transportation solutions provider.

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