U.S. Postal Service to Begin Testing AV Transport Trucks

The two-week pilot will focus on five round trips of more than 2,100 miles each through Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. A driver will be in the vehicle should human intervention be required.

by Blake Alsup, New York Daily News / May 22, 2019
Shutterstock/Jonathan Weiss

(TNS) — Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stops these robots from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

The United States Postal Service began a two-week test for self-driving transport trucks in the Southwest on Tuesday.

Mail will be hauled between Phoenix and Dallas in the autonomous trucks created by a San Diego startup called TuSimple. The goal is to “see how the nascent technology might improve delivery times and costs,” Reuters reported.

A driver will ride behind the wheel to intervene if needed, and an engineer will be in the passenger seat. The test run consists of five round trips of more than 2,100 miles each through Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

“The work with TuSimple is our first initiative in autonomous long-haul transportation,” USPS spokeswoman Kim Frum told Reuters. “We are conducting research and testing as part of our efforts to operate a future class of vehicles which will incorporate new technology.”

The program’s cost has not been disclosed, but Frum told Reuters no tax dollars were used and that the USPS instead relies on money made from postage and other products.

If the venture is a success, it could be a potential solution for the driver shortage currently plaguing freight haulers as a result of an aging workforce and difficulty attracting younger drivers.

©2019 New York Daily News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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