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Navistar speeds up on autonomous trucks

Navistar speeds up on autonomous trucks

NZ Truck & Driver News

 August 2020   
North American truckmaker Navistar plans to begin building autonomous trucks in the next four years, fast-tracking the move by forming a partnership with "driverless" trucks startup TuSimple.

It's a deal seen by both partners as a "milestone" in the commercialisation of Level 4 autonomous trucks – which, essentially, do not need a driver.

The partnership is a marriage of the truck mass-production capabilities of Navistar and the autonomous technology developed by TuSimple.

Navistar has bought a minority stake in TuSimple, which already has a fleet of 40 autonomous trucks (with drivers on board – but only to meet state laws) carting freight between Arizona and Texas. It says it plans to demonstrate fully driverless trucks in operation next year. 

The two companies revealed that they have been working together behind the scenes for two years – jointly developing pre-production units.

The autonomous trucks developed by the partnership will be built on a Navistar production line. They'll be badged Internationals and sold by Navistar dealers in the US, Canada and Mexico.

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North American truckmaker Navistar plans to begin building autonomous trucks in the next four years, fast-tracking the move by forming a partnership with "driverless" trucks startup TuSimple.
It's a deal seen by both partners as a "milestone" in the commercialisation of Level 4 autonomous trucks – which, essentially, do not need a driver.
The partnership is a marriage of the truck mass-production capabilities of Navistar and the autonomous technology developed by TuSimple.
Navistar has bought a minority stake in TuSimple, which already has a fleet of 40 autonomous trucks (with drivers on board – but only to meet state laws) carting freight between Arizona and Texas. It says it plans to demonstrate fully driverless trucks in operation next year. 
The two companies revealed that they have been working together behind the scenes for two years – jointly developing pre-production units.
The autonomous trucks developed by the partnership will be built on a Navistar production line. They'll be badged Internationals and sold by Navistar dealers in the US, Canada and Mexico.
New Navistar CEO and president Persio Lisboa says that "autonomous technology is entering our industry and will have a profound impact on our customers' businesses. 
"Navistar's strategic partnership with TuSimple positions us to be a leader in developing solutions for our customers by leveraging our organisations' collective expertise to integrate our vehicle design and systems integration capabilities with TuSimple's innovative autonomous technology. 
"This announcement marks a significant milestone in our development journey with TuSimple and we look forward to furthering our relationship in the months to come."
TuSimple president Cheng Lu says that the partners are "kicking off a full go-to-market production programme.
"With the combined expertise of Navistar and TuSimple, we have a clear path to commercialise selfdriving Class 8 trucks at scale."
Until the disclosure of its partnership with Navistar, TuSimple appeared to be developing its autonomous technology with the capability of being installed in trucks built by any make.
But the deal to have it built into new Internationals ensures "a fully integrated engineering solution," the partners point out.
As Cheng Lu told US media: "There is an OEM standing behind this truck, which is really important for the end-user."
TuSimple is seen as a leader in developing autonomous trucks specifically targeted at linehaul applications in the US and China – offering operators dramatically reduced operating costs and increased efficiency and safety. 
It recently announced an agreement with UPS, Penske Truck Leasing, trucking company US Xpress and US logistics company McLane to create what it says will be the first autonomous freight network.
The aim is to build a nationwide network of digitally-mapped routes connecting hundreds of freight terminals – enabling low-cost, long-haul autonomous freight operations…..starting in the southwestern US.
In December it said that a Californian university study showed that TuSimple's autonomous driving technology cut fuel use in heavy-duty trucks by 10%, compared to standard highway freight units.
It has already secured around $US300million worth of backing from investors including parcel freight giant UPS and is currently in the market for another $US250m.
TuSimple's trucks operate at level 4 autonomy, meaning they can operate without any driver involvement.  

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