Union Pacific Railroad will become the first customer to move freight on TuSimple's fully-automated trucking route between the Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona metro areas.
Union Pacific is leveraging Loup Logistics, a wholly-owned subsidiary, to coordinate the freight shipment and support movement between rail and the critical first and last mile. Starting this spring, TuSimple plans to carry Driver Out freight for Union Pacific, utilizing autonomous vehicle technology to deliver goods.
"Partnering with TuSimple allows us to extend our operations beyond our rail hubs and serve our customers faster and more efficiently," said Kenny Rocker, executive vice president of marketing and sales for UP. "This groundbreaking autonomous driving technology and our partnership provide us a significant opportunity to scale the technology in our network, proactively reducing global supply chain congestion."
TuSimple has conducted an additional six successful fully autonomous runs since its first driverless Class 8 run on open runs in December 2021. The seven total runs covered over 550 cumulative miles on open public roads without a human in the vehicle, without any teleoperation, and without any traffic intervention. Runs were conducted in various roadway conditions, including dense early-evening traffic and "back-to-back" runs on the same night.
Going forward, TuSimple plans to continue its 'Driver Out' program and progressively expand its scope to incorporate daytime runs and new routes while making regular improvements to its proprietary AV technology. By the end of 2023, TuSimple plans to achieve commercial viability by initiating continuous 'Driver Out' paid freight operations in a significant shipping area such as the 'Texas Triangle.'
TuSimple continues to advance autonomous freight lanes across the sunbelt. To scale its operations in preparation for a nationwide expansion, the company recently provided technical specifications to commercial real-estate developers to prepare for future autonomous trucking operations, including a million square foot state-of-the-art facility within a 27,000-square-acre development as part of the AllianceTexas.
To date, TuSimple has over 11,000 unique mapped miles in its Autonomous Freight Network and plans to continue to scale its operations to support its distribution partners.