The journey towards fully autonomous trucks is challenging but achievable, and it appears to be closer to realization compared to self-driving cars. Recently, a self-driving truck successfully transported a load of watermelons from Arizona to Oklahoma, demonstrating the potential of autonomous trucking technology. The company behind this achievement is TuSimple, a transportation company specializing in driverless technology for trucks.
During the journey, the autonomous system drove 80% of the distance, covering around 950 miles (1,528 km). A human driver was present for the remaining 20% of the trip, ready to take control if any issues arose with the technology. It’s important to note that heavy-duty trucks have specific speed limits and driving time restrictions, including mandatory rest breaks, which contributed to the reduced time compared to a human driver. The trip took approximately 10 hours less, completing the journey in around 14 hours and six minutes, as reported by SingularityHub.
This achievement has significant benefits, especially when delivering perishable goods like watermelons. By arriving a day earlier, the watermelons can reach supermarket shelves sooner after being harvested, reducing wastage and improving the customer experience. TuSimple argues that this would increase revenue for farmers and merchants, as customers would be more likely to purchase fresh watermelons in the future.