Driverless Truck Succesfully Travels More Than 80 Miles on Open Public Roads


California-based TuSimple claims to be the world’s first company to successfully operate a fully autonomous truck on open public roads. The journey was completed on December 22nd, and it involved a class 8 semi-truck that drove without a human on board for more than 80 miles (129 km) in real-life settings. TuSimple was founded in 2015 with the goal of delivering a commercial-ready Level 4 fully autonomous driving solution for long-haul heavy-duty trucks. And it appears that the company is getting close to achieving that. The recent run was performed by an autonomous semi-truck outfitted with TuSimple’s Autonomous Driving System (ADS). The vehicle started the journey from Tucson, Arizona, successfully demonstrating it is capable of navigating on surface streets, on-ramps, and off-ramps. Not only that, but it was able to recognize emergency lane vehicles, perform highway lane changes, drive at night and even interact with other motorists. After 80 miles (129 km), the truck arrived in the Phoenix metro area, completing its trip. This incredible journey lasted 80 minutes in total, and it marked the first time a class 8 autonomous truck traveled on open public roads without a human on board and without being remote-controlled. According to TuSimple, the recent run is part of a test program that has been in motion for the past one and a half years. The program is focusing on the development of a Level 4 autonomous semi-truck capable of safe operation on public roads. The company will continue to test the vehicle’s capabilities into 2022. The test was carried out in collaboration with the Arizona Department of Transportation and law enforcement, which helped ensure that everything functioned properly. A survey vehicle drove over 5 miles (8 km) ahead of the truck, checking for any anomalies, while an oversight vehicle operated closely behind. Additionally, law enforcement vehicles were present at a 0.5-mile (0.8-km) distance. The company released an uncut video of the drive too. So, anyone interested in seeing the autonomous truck in action can access the clip down below.