Based on an article published by Reuters, May 21, 2019, on Tuesday, the USPS® started a new adventure – a two-week test transporting mail across three Southwestern states using self-driving trucks. These trucks, from TuSimple, a San Diego-based startup, will transport mail between the Phoenix and Dallas USPS facilities to determine how the nascent technology might improve delivery times and costs. A safety driver will sit behind the wheel to intervene if necessary and an engineer will ride in the passenger seat.
If successful, it would mark an achievement for the autonomous driving industry and a possible solution to the driver shortage and regulatory constraints faced by freight haulers across the country.
The pilot program involves five round trips, each totaling more than 2,100 miles (3,380 km) or around 45 hours of driving. It is unclear whether self-driving mail delivery will continue after the two-week pilot.
“The work with TuSimple is our first initiative in autonomous long-haul transportation,” USPS spokeswoman Kim Frum said. “We are conducting research and testing as part of our efforts to operate a future class of vehicles which will incorporate new technology.”