The Fuse

This Week In AVs: TuSimple Expands UPS Truck Partnership; Driverless Delivery Van Sees Surge Amid Outbreak; And More

by Alex Adams | @alexjhadams | March 12, 2020

TuSimple Expands UPS Truck Partnership

TuSimple said last Thursday that it intends to double its services to 20 trips per week

Driverless truck developer TuSimple has announced that it is expanding its partnership with UPS, which took a minority stake in the AV company in August last year, to run more routes as it continues to develop its technology at its Tucson testing facility. The San Diego-based TuSimple said last Thursday that it intends to double its services to 20 trips per week, with 10 runs on a new route between Phoenix and El Paso in addition to 10 runs on its existing Phoenix-Tucson route.

During the announcement, TuSimple noted that its self-driving truck operations for UPS registered a 10 percent saving in fuel use when compared to traditional operation. The findings mirror those published by the University of California, San Diego in December, which found that TuSimple’s autonomous technology significantly reduces fuel consumption of heavy-duty trucks by at least 10 percent. The study found that fuel consumption between autonomous and manual driven vehicles at lower speeds has the most significant fuel savings because of the complex driving that happens at a lower speed.

Driverless Delivery Van Sees Surge Amid Outbreak
While many companies are struggling to cope with the effects of the Coronavirus, a Beijing-based driverless delivery bot company called Neolix has stated that demand for its services has surged. The startup has announced that in the last two months it has received orders for more than 200 vehicles; before then, they had only produced 125 units since production began in May. “Demand has been surging since the virus outbreak and more importantly, people’s perception toward driverless delivery had a complete 180-degree shift,” Neolix founder Yu Enyuan said in an interview. “People realize that such vehicles can get things done when it is risky for a human being to do so.” Yu added that Neolix’s vehicles have been used to deliver products to hospitals including in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.

Waymo Unveils New AV Technology
Waymo unveiled its fifth-generation AV technology last week, providing upgrades to a variety of sensors and technologies while lowering costs. The three core facets of Waymo’s AV technology—the cameras, radar and LIDAR—have all been upgraded, allowing the car to recognize stop signs more than 1,600 feet away. The new technology will be used on the company’s forthcoming fleet of Jaguar I-Pace vehicles, which will be used in Waymo’s ride-hailing services in the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona. In a blog post, Waymo states its “completely redesigned fifth-generation hardware sensor suite will enable the scaled deployment of the Waymo Driver,” adding that its system contains one of the world’s first radar imaging systems for self-driving.