- Navistar and TuSimple have entered into a partnership to develop L4 autonomous trucks. Production could begin in 2024, according to a Wednesday news release.
- The companies have had a technical relationship for two years. Navistar said it will also take a minority stake in TuSimple.
- TuSimple operates 40 autonomous trucks now, in Arizona and Texas, with plans for California in 2022. It plans to showcase completely driverless automated trucks in 2021. It also announced on July 1 an "autonomous freight network," which would include UPS, U.S. Xpress and Penske.
The partnership between TuSimple and Navistar indicates the growing interest OEMs have in autonomous technology.
Some OEMs, such as Hyundai, have already made aggressive moves toward marketing autonomous products in the United States and Europe. Hyundai has shown off its DC-6 Neptune Class 8 truck, which is powered by fuel cells, at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show in October.
The perfected technology, and government approvals, are likely far off. But OEMs appear unwilling to be caught by surprise by new competitors.
Autonomous technology will have a profound impact on Navistar businesses, said Persio Lisboa, Navistar CEO, in the news release. The companies said the partnership 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.
TuSimple said it operates 40 self-driving trucks in the United States, shipping freight autonomously for companies such as UPS and McLane Co. between Arizona and Texas.
To prepare for the future, TuSimple endeavored to establish a supply chain network. In April, it partnered with ZF, an automotive supply company, to develop and commercialize products for autonomous trucks. The partnership extended to the North American, European and Chinese markets. TuSimple and ZF are developing cameras, LiDAR, radar, steering and ZF's automotive-grade central computer ZF ProAI, according to a news release. ZF will serve as the default supplier for the company's commercialized vehicles.
And on July 1, TuSimple said it launched its Autonomous Freight Network (AFN), which included autonomous trucks, digitally mapped routes, terminals and TuSimple Connect, an autonomous operations monitoring system. TuSimple said joining the network would be UPS, Penske Truck Leasing, U.S. Xpress and McLane.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated where TuSimple operates autonomous trips.