Self-driving vehicle startup TuSimple has paired with the U.S. Postal Service in testing self-driving trucks on a mail run over 1,000 miles long between Phoenix and Dallas. This is the post office’s first use of technology for long hauls, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The two-week trial pilot, beginning Thursday, will use big rigs supplied by autonomous trucking firm TuSimple to haul trailers on five round trips between distribution centers. The trip is usually serviced by outside trucking companies that use two-driver teams to comply with federal regulations.
TuSimple’s technology uses cameras that the company says see more than half a mile ahead to spot emergency vehicles, pedestrians, and road hazards. According to the Wall Street Journal, relay teams of safety drivers and engineers will ride along in the company’s retrofitted Peterbilt trucks during the pilot, and will swap out when they stop at stations to refuel.
The Postal Service, which has been losing money for several years as letter volume has declined, is trying to restrain operating costs and is seeking ways to cut fuel expenses.