Navistar and global self-driving technology company TuSimple have entered into a strategic partnership to co-develop SAE Level 4 self-driving semi-trucks targeted for production by 2024. The strategic partnership is the result of a successful technical relationship between the companies for more than two years.
Navistar also has taken a minority stake in TuSimple.
“Autonomous technology is entering our industry and will have a profound impact on our customers’ businesses,” says Persio Lisboa, president and CEO, Navistar. “Navistar’s strategic partnership with TuSimple positions us to be a leader in developing solutions for our customers by leveraging our organizations’ 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.”
According to the companies, the program between TuSimple and Navistar will ensure a fully integrated engineering solution that will be ready for mass-production using Navistar’s vehicle manufacturing capabilities. Customers will be able to purchase the fully autonomous trucks through Navistar’s traditional sales channels in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
“TuSimple and Navistar began joint development of pre-production units in 2018 and now we are kicking-off a full go-to-market production program,” says Cheng Lu, TuSimple president. “We are honored to be partnered with Navistar. The investment in TuSimple and the partnership with Navistar marks an important milestone for our company. With the combined expertise of Navistar and TuSimple, we have a clear path to commercialize self-driving Class 8 trucks at scale.”
This partnership propels TuSimple’s aims to transform the $800 billion U.S. trucking industry by enhancing safety, increasing efficiency and significantly reducing operating costs, the company says. Last December, TuSimple announced results of a study conducted at the University of California San Diego that show the company’s autonomous driving technology reduced fuel consumption in heavy-duty trucks by 10 percent when compared to traditional operations.
The company operates a fleet of 40 self-driving trucks in the U.S., shipping freight autonomously for companies such as UPS and McLane Company between Arizona and Texas. TuSimple says it plans to demonstrate completely driverless operations in 2021.