Autonomous Truck Reservations Have Begun

By TuSimple's editorial team
May 31


Reserving an Autonomous Truck: How to be at the Forefront of Autonomous Trucking

Recently, we announced we have received 6,775 reservations for a new line of purpose-built SAE Level 4 (L4) International® brand autonomous trucks in partnership with Navistar International Corporation (NYSE: NAV). The self-driving trucks will be equipped with our advanced autonomous driving system and manufactured by Navistar beginning in 2024. Among the first customers to place reservations are Penske Truck Leasing, Schneider (NYSE: SNDR), and U.S. Xpress (NYSE: USX), among other large freight transportation companies in North America.

Overview of TuSimple’s Truck Reservation Program

In July 2020, we announced our formal partnership with Navistar, one of the world’s largest commercial truck OEMs. Through our partnership, we are designing and producing a line of purpose-built L4 autonomous semi-trucks for the North American market to begin deployment on our autonomous freight network (AFN) in 2024. Reservations allow our carrier and shipper select customers to secure a priority position to order and purchase our purpose-built L4 autonomous semi-trucks. To date, our reservation program has been made available only to a limited group of approximately 15 First Wave customers. TuSimple and Navistar expect to expand the reservation program to additional customers by the end of 2021.

Benefits of a TuSimple Truck Reservation

  1. Secure an order for our purpose-built L4 trucks. L4 truck availability will initially be limited and those who understand the transformative nature of this technology will be at the forefront of commercial adoption.
  2. Participate in the design and development of our purpose-built L4 trucks. Early reservation partners can have a voice in the design of our L4 trucks, ensuring that the trucks will fit their company’s needs.
  3. Prepare for deployment of autonomous trucks within customers’ existing freight networks. TuSimple works closely with our reservation customers to prepare lanes selected for autonomous vehicle deployment.

How Much do Autonomous Truck Reservations Cost?

Typically, each reservation requires a $500 per-truck deposit. However, the deposit requirement has been waived for our pre-IPO equity investors that currently hold reservations. Until the customer makes the decision to enter into a purchase agreement for our purpose-built L4 autonomous semi-trucks, the reservation can be canceled and the customer is entitled to a full refund of their deposit. 

Our reservation partners don’t just put down a deposit, they embark on a journey with TuSimple to prepare them for autonomy, so they are able to fully take advantage of their L4 trucks upon delivery.

How TuSimple is Helping Partners Prepare for Autonomous Trucks

Seamlessly integrating autonomous operations into a TuSimple shipper or carrier takes time and close collaboration behind the scenes. We have developed a process to ensure our reservation partners are 100% ready after their L4 trucks are delivered.

Overview of blue chip user journey to incorporate tusimple afn into operations


Purpose-built L4 Autonomous Semi-truck Reservations


Work with Users to Identify Routes and Start Moving Freight


Map Routes to Enable L4 Autonomous Operations


Operate Routes L4 Autonomously in 2024 via TuSimple Capacity and Carrier-Owned Capacity

Review Your Autonomous Trucking Needs

First, we spend time consulting with our reservation customers to understand their network needs. We explain the best scenarios for our L4 truck including consistent, long-haul, high volume lanes. Once our customers have a deep understanding of how TuSimple technology works and how to use it to its full capability, we begin diving into their network operations:

  • How much volume do they have on specific lanes?
  • Are freight moves in certain lanes consistent or more variable?
  • What is the average load weight?
  • What types of trailers do they use?
  • What are their yard hours and how will we receive access?
  • Is it a live delivery/drop?

Identify and Map Optimal Autonomous Trucking Routes Based on Your Needs

After we fully understand how our customer’s network operates and their most significant pain points, we identify the lanes best suitable for our L4 technology and determine the number of trucks to deploy on each lane.

Next, we begin the mapping phase. We send out mapping vehicles to collect data on the customer’s lanes. We use the truck LiDAR, radar, and camera data collected to construct a highly granular, high-definition map compatible with our autonomous driving software. Our proprietary mapping technology and process is accurate to within five centimeters, which is crucial to safely operate trucks autonomously given the width of the tractors relative to the width of the average local streets. We map new routes at a rate of over 250 miles per week, which translates into our ability to map a typical “middle mile” route for a customer in approximately four weeks on average.

Begin Autonomous Vehicle Testing

For many reservation customers, after a lane is mapped, we start to run freight manually for them. Running freight manually is an important step because it gives us an opportunity to truly understand the ins-and-outs of our customer’s operations. We learn how their dispatch process works, how their trailers are tracked, their average detainment time, and any other unique characteristics of the lane. We pride ourselves on our high level of service and are confident in our ability to meet our customer’s freight needs. When it comes to freight operations, TuSimple believes in safety, being on time, and testing autonomy.

  1. Safety: More than 4,000 fatalities from accidents involving trucks occur each year. It is essential that we can operate lanes safely before introducing autonomy
  2. On Time: All goods have been transported by a truck at one time or another, making freight vital to everyday operations in our world. We focus on delivering freight on-time with a high level of service prior to testing autonomy
  3. Testing Autonomy: Practice makes perfect and testing autonomy gives our L4 trucks practice so that we can perfect our autonomous driving system

Finally, we begin testing autonomy. We test autonomy as many times as we can day and night rain or shine on prepared lanes. These autonomous runs have both a safety driver and a safety engineer in the cab to make sure that the mission is completed safely and to report back how our technology can be further refined to enhance our customer’s experience.

This entire process is designed to de-risk the adoption and execution of autonomy by gaining real-world operational experience. Through this process, our reservation customers will be able to plan the redeployment of existing trucks to further expand their service offering and ensure that deployment of their L4 trucks in 2024 will be a seamless plug and play solution. The lanes are already mapped, and freight is already moving. All they need to do is sub in their L4 truck!

Posted by TuSimple

Recent Blog Posts