The United Postal Service has been using self-driving trucks to deliver cargo and no one knew about it. The self-driving freight truck startup TuSimple has been carrying mail across the state of Arizona since May in complete silence.
Artificial intelligence technology is advancing quickly, as evidence of the move toward self-driving trucks. According to Gizmodo, UPS announced on Thursday that its venture capital arm has made a minority investment in TuSimple. The announcement also revealed that since May TuSimple autonomous trucks have been hauling UPS loads on a 115-mile route between Phoenix and Tucson.
UPS confirmed to Gizmodo this is the first time UPS has announced it has been using TuSimple autonomous trucks to deliver packages in the state.
Around the same time as the UPS and TuSimple program began, the United States Postal Service and TuSimple publicized a two-week pilot program to deliver mail between Phoenix and Dallas, a 1,000-mile trip.
TuSimple claims it can cut the average cost of shipping in a tractor-trailer by 30 percent.-Gizmodo
Although details about the new partnership between UPS and TuSimple were not shared with Gizmodo, UPS Ventures managing partner, Todd Lewis, said the venture arm “collaborates with startups to explore new technologies and tailor them to help meet our specific needs.”
The partnership announcement states that TuSimple has been helping UPS understand how to get to Level 4 autonomous driving where a vehicle is fully autonomous and able to reach a particular location. At this point, the TuSimple trucks carrying packages for UPS still have an engineer and a safety driver riding along. When UPS reaches Level 4, it won’t need anyone behind the wheel. Gizmodo
The United States Postal Service (USPS) has also been testing self-driving trucks for mountain package deliveries. The agency has reported losses every year for the past 12 years. In 2018 alone, it reported a net loss of $3.9 billion and a $2.7 billion loss in 2017. Part of the agency’s plans to claw its way back to financial health is to invest in higher-tech solutions—autonomous vehicles ranking high on the USPS’s list.
These changes could save companies money in the long run, but what about all those truckers who will be suddenly unemployed? As of now, the advancements in technology don’t appear to be the problem. The major problem standing in the way of autonomous driving vehicles is the government, but that could all change in a matter of years.
The economic impacts of having artificial intelligence replace human beings are obvious, but what about humanity’s inherent drive to be productive? There are many unanswered questions when it sure seems like the AI takeover is right around the corner.
Self-driving 18-wheelers? I’m surprised there’s no accidents with those damn things yet. Can’t think of a better recipe for a multi-million dollar lawsuit. Give it time; it WILL happen.
The company is based out of China.
Meh, can’t be any worse than regular AZ drivers. I don’t know what it is about AZ but damm those idiots can’t drive for shit! I’ll be waiting for all the lawsuit ads on tv now lol. Hope they have deep pockets!
On a controlled access road like interstate in good weather no reason why this could not work.
Personally I think they will operate trucks like trains with a man in control, The guy only has to keep an eye on things, this could be done remotely like a drone pilot.
There is no reason you could not automate a ship, a train, a truck, and Freight aircraft. Things you can safely stop and send a guy out to recover or perform the final complex parking stuff.
This would require a lot of standardization, but is do-able with today’s technology and good design.
I want to emphasize most modern machine failures are caused by human operator failures. We have gotten pretty good at designing and making machines that are safe, robust, and reliable.
The story tells us they claim it will cut shipping costs 30%……I can bet you the consumer will not see a single dime of savings in shipping costs. UPS and USPS will pocket all the savings while millions of drivers become unemployed and a job source fades away. The USPS is so poorly run, they couldn’t make a buck if the whole outfit is autonomous.
Humanity has an inherent drive to be productive. Which is exactly why they are conjuring up the AI dystopia.
Ya maybe 40% of humanity, the rest SUCK!
I would like to believe in a generic cityscape, and the dignity of labor, in my idealist, altruist, nostalgic, never-gonna-happen, imaginary universe. There should be nothing wrong with this line of work, or with any line of work, or with any of the people doing it.
^^^ Maybe, possibly, anyone, who finds this offensive, is living the unicorn zone, up here.)
But, in my generation…
Trucking was an evil, zero-tolerance employer of last resort, staffed by Squidbilly-tier, aggressive unionists who have ironic, “country” health problems, while breeding spontaneously, wherever there is an opening.
It makes perfect sense, that an employer would avoid paying benefits, to the point of financial ruin; these skills have been simulated, electronically, for 50 yrs.
Technology may be good, but I personally would rather go back to the way things used to be!
Be patient, this Luddite believes today’s technologies (and civility) is a house of cards. Most Americans are too young to know what we have lost, and what they don’t know.
“United Postal Service”
Would somebody, please, show this “Mac Slavo” entity the door? I no longer read anything with that byline but this United Postal Service reference appeared in the headline.
I’m glad they showed a picture of it, so if I encounter one on the road I’ll stay clear of it. Who know though, with all the horrible drivers in Arizona, Robo Truck might possibly be an improvement. But what if it gets a flat tire? Could it have fits of road rage?
The title should read USPS not UPS
Bullshit Big lie. I drove truck for more than 40 years. Drove over a million miles and made a trip or two across Arizona. You cannot program a computer in a truck to think and react . And I assure there is plenty of thinking and reacting necessary when driving a 80,000 pound truck. It takes skill. and the only way to learn that skill is by experience gained by actually doing the job. No computer can learn skill.
Yet people are still having babies as if they have a future ahead of them worth living. USA USA splat!
^^^^^^ He’s right you know ^^^^^
How gullible are you folks to believe that there are driverless semi trucks on the public roads. For one thing the DOT would never allow it. second it would not be viable. too many variables from weather to road construction heavy traffic and wrecks and animals on the road. Some of that area is open range. The article is FAKE NEWS.
look it up