TuSimple autonomous trucks start presented on Wednesday a plan to create a network of routes and marine terminals designed for autonomous trucking operations that will expand to the United States by 2024. UPS, which owns a minority stake in TuSimple, the US carrier Xpress , Penske Truck Leasing and Berkshire Hathaway’s McLane Inc., the grocery and restaurant supply chain, is the first partner in this so-called Autonomous Freight Network (APN).
The TuSimple APN includes four components: its autonomous trucks, digital mapped routes, freight terminals and a system that will allow customers to monitor autonomous trucking operations and track their shipments in real time. For the moment, TuSimple will operate the trucks and transport goods for its customers, who are now 22 in number. TuSimple hopes ultimately to be able to sell its autonomous trucks so that customers can choose to operate their own fleets.
The plan was released just days after ClearTipsNews learned that TuSimple had hired investment bank Morgan Stanley to help him raise $ 250 million. Morgan Stanley recently sent an information package, viewed by ClearTipsNews, to potential investors that provides a snapshot of the business and an overview of its business model, along with a rationale for why the business is ready to succeed – all standard rates for companies looking for investors. TuSimple, which has raised $ 298 million to date, has also shared plans to build its standalone freight network with potential investors.
“Our ultimate goal is to have a nationwide transportation network made up of mapped routes connecting hundreds of terminals to enable efficient and low-cost autonomous long-haul freight operations,” said TuSimple President. , Cheng Lu, in a statement. “By launching the APN with our strategic partners, we will be able to rapidly expand operations and widen autonomous navigation lanes to provide users with access to autonomous capacity anywhere and around the clock, 7 days on 7.”
TuSimple already transports freight in its autonomous trucks (still with human security operators on board) along seven different routes between Phoenix, Tucson, El Paso and Dallas. TuSimple said it will expand its service area with existing customers UPS and McLane. US Xpress is a new partner. Penske will help TuSimple expand its fleet operations nationwide and provide preventive maintenance for autonomous trucks, the company said.
TuSimple said the network will be rolled out in three phases, starting with focusing on a service area in the southwest where it already operates. Phase 1, which will be launched in 2020 and until 2021, will cover service between the cities of Phoenix, Tucson, El Paso, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. TuSimple plans to open a new shipping terminal in Dallas this fall. TuSimple said that these terminals are designed to be shared by medium-sized customers. TuSimple will transport freight directly to a company’s distribution center if it is a high volume customer.
The second phase will begin in 2022 and extend service from Los Angeles to Jacksonville and connect the east coast to the west, the company said.
The final phase will extend to the lower 48 states, starting in 2023. The company said it will replicate the strategy in Europe and Asia after rolling out the AFN nationally.