That's if a trial being carried out by the United States Postal Service (USPS) proves to be successful.
During the pilot, self-driving trucks will run for 22 hours each along the I-10, I-20 and I-30 corridors to make the trip through Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Partnering with a venerable institution like the Postal Service will make people more comfortable with the idea of autonomous vehicles, TuSimple hopes, and perhaps allay public concerns about their safety.
The U.S. Postal Service is experimenting with self-driving trucks to move mail across state lines. "We are conducting research and testing as part of our efforts to operate a future class of vehicles which will incorporate new technology".
Founded in 2015, TuSimple is already operating self-driving trucks out of Tucson, Arizona as it develops commercial-ready Level autonomous driving technology for the logistics industry.
The pilot program is using trucks from startup TuSimple to traverse a 1,000-mile route between distribution centers in Phoenix and Dallas.
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As The Verge reports, USPS is teaming up with autonomous trucking company TuSimple to perform a two-week trial of mail transported using self-driving Navistar trucks.
Price said the pilot will not only provide valuable experience to TuSimple as it tests its system, but also give USPS insight into how it could use this technology to boost efficiency and save costs.
The Postal Service usually contracts out such long-haul trips, which involve large freight trailers carrying thousands of pieces of mail, as opposed to the small trucks making door-to-door deliveries. Its trucks have been carrying cargo for customers in Arizona since previous year. "It's a sweet spot for autonomy".
Long-haul highway routes are the logical starting point for autonomous big rigs since they are typically less complicated, traffic-wise, than intercity lanes.
Earlier this year, TuSimple announced it raised $95 million in its Series D round of funding, which lifted the company's total funding to $178 million.