The Fuse

This Week in AVs: UPS Tests Self-Driving Trucks; Waymo to Test in Florida; and More

by Alex Adams | @alexjhadams | August 22, 2019

UPS Has Been Quietly Testing Self-Driving Trucks
As part of its announcement that it had invested in autonomous truck startup TuSimple, UPS revealed that it has been testing a self-driving truck service in Arizona since May. In a statement, UPS announced that it “has been providing truckloads of goods for TuSimple to carry on a North American Freight Forwarding route between Phoenix and Tucson,” adding that a driver and engineer were present in the vehicle. Although neither company commented on the size of the investment, the announcement was made as trucking companies continue to seek out technologies that cut costs and boost efficiency and safety. In May, the United States Postal Service also contracted with TuSimple—which believes its technology will ultimately reduce shipping costs by 30 percent—to run five round trips between distribution centers in Phoenix and Dallas.

Waymo To Test AVs In Florida’s Rain
As hurricane season approaches, Waymo has announced that it is taking some of its AVs to Florida in order to begin testing in heavy rain. The Alphabet subsidiary will bring Chrysler Pacificas and a Jaguar I-Pace to Naples and Miami for testing, according to a company blog post on Tuesday. This latest round of trials adds further variation to the conditions that Waymo has tested its vehicles in, after driving them in snow in Novi, Michigan, dust in Chandler, Arizona, rain in Kirkland, Washington and fog in San Francisco, California. After spending an initial few weeks on a closed course in Naples, Waymo will then begin testing on highways between Orland, Tampa, Fort Myers and Miami.

Russia’s Yandex To Speed Up AV Testing
Yandex, a Russian equivalent to Google, has announced that it is considering expanding its AV fleet ten-fold up to 1,000 vehicles within the next two years in order to expedite testing of its self-driving technology. The company currently has 90 cars, 35 of which are being tested on Moscow’s roads with an engineer present. Yandex already operates an autonomous ride-hailing service in two Russian cities, and demonstrated its software at this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in a converted Toyota Prius. Although two engineers were present in the back and passenger seats, the demonstrations took place on the city’s streets without a human backup.