Autonomous Big Rig Trucking Tested In Arizona

Published: Monday, December 25, 2017 - 8:42am

A Chinese start-up company is developing technology to make big-rig commercial trucks driverless.

Starting in 2018, a 120 mile highway stretch between Tucson and Phoenix will be one of the test routes for its fleet.

TuSimple of Shanghai is testing its autonomous trucks in China and the U.S. The technology is designed to take over all driving controls in certain conditions. Tucson is home to its test facility.

Tony Bradley is CEO of the Arizona Truckers Association and said he doesn’t like the term autonomous trucking. He said the term "driver assisted" is more accurate.

"You know all these technologies that they are using, many of them are already in our trucks…So, we are looking at it with great promise to reduce accidents and reduce collisions between vehicles and trucks,” Bradley said.

He said existing technologies like front-facing radar can slow down a truck if needed. Bradley also said the industry spends over $10 billion annually in safety technologies, some of which are designed for autonomous vehicles.

In July, TuSimple completed a 170 mile public road test from San Diego, California to Yuma. The company’s autonomous truck started testing on public roads in China in September.

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