Self-driving truck startup TuSimple has deepened its partnership with delivery giant UPS by adding new routes in Texas.
The San Diego-based company will double its UPS runs to 20 trips per week, of which 10 runs will be on a new route between Phoenix and Paso, and the other 10 on the existing route between Phoenix and Tucson.
UPS Ventures, the shipping company’s investment division, made a strategic investment in TuSimple with an undisclosed amount five months after the two launched a pilot program in March 2019.
TuSimple is helping UPS explore autonomous driving technologies for its Global Smart Logistics Network, which “aims to improve network efficiencies, safety, and customer service,” Scott Price, UPS chief strategy and transformation officer said in a statement.
“TuSimple has been instrumental to this initiative, so it was a logical next step for us to expand the test to additional routes within our North American Freight Forwarding lanes,” Price added.
Besides UPS, TuSimple has raised funds from US-based graphic processor maker Nvidia and Chinese tech company Sina, the operator of China’s biggest microblogging site Weibo. The company has offices in Beijing and Shanghai, where it develops its core technology, which involves advanced camera and image-processing.
With about 150 engineers, drivers and other employees currently, the robotic trucking company has announced plans to hire hundreds more over the next few years.
Under the current autonomous trucking rules, a driver and engineer is required in the vehicle for all TuSimple runs. The company aims to perform a fully driverless demonstration in 2021 while expanding its freight deliveries in the US and China.