Atlanta-based shipping giant UPS revealed on Thursday that it is entering the self-driving vehicle space by investing in TuSimple, an autonomous driving company that company says offers opportunities to boost its operational safety and efficiency.
The company’s venture capital arm, UPS Ventures, has made a minority investment TuSimple, and both companies are testing self-driving tractor trailers on a route in Arizona. This is an extension of the ongoing commercial relationship between UPS and TuSimple in which UPS has purchased transportation services from TuSimple.
Throughout the ongoing tests, UPS has been providing truckloads of goods for TuSimple to carry on a North American Freight Forwarding route between Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona.
“UPS is committed to developing and deploying technologies that enable us to operate our global logistics network more efficiently,” said the company’s Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer, Scott Price.
“While fully autonomous, driverless vehicles still have development and regulatory work ahead, we are excited by the advances in braking and other technologies that companies like TuSimple are mastering. All of these technologies offer significant safety and other benefits that will be realized long before the full vision of autonomous vehicles is brought to fruition – and UPS will be there, as a leader implementing these new technologies in our fleet.”
UPS contracts with third-party trucking companies during its peak shipping season. TuSimple believes it could cut average purchased transportation costs by 30%.