PHOENIX (3TV / CBS 5) – This week UPS announced that they are using self-propelled tractor trailers to ship some goods between Phoenix and Tucson. It is part of an investment in the autonomous trucking company, TuSimple.
TuSimple says it began shipping UPS cargo along Interstate 10 in March 2019.
[WATCH: UPS using self-driving semis to haul cargo on I-10 between Phoenix, Tucson]
Robert Brown, head of public and public affairs for TuSimple, says the company has 33 self-propelled semi. Most of them operate in Arizona, and each is equipped with special cameras and radar. A safety driver with extensive CDL experience and an engineer is on board in each truck, according to Brown.
The idea of self-driving trucks weighing more than 30,000 pounds traveling at highway speeds is scary for many motorists.
Attorney James Arrowood has a practice focusing on emergency technology. He says companies can do more to educate the public about safety statistics and self-driving capabilities.
“Many of these companies try to protect business secrets. They try to test calmly so that they can fix things, not to the detriment of people, but really so that competitors may not get all that information, says Arrowood. "The problem is balancing it with public information."
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Arizona has become an important test area for autonomous vehicles. But a fatal crash last year with a self-driving Uber shook people's confidence in security in an autonomous future.
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Brown says TuSimple wants to reassure drivers that they can feel safe sharing the road with their autonomous trucks. According to the company's website, TuSimple's mission is to increase safety, reduce transport costs and reduce carbon emissions.
Uber began testing autonomous tractor trailers in Arizona in the fall of 2017.
The company says it completed the program less than a year later.
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