The USPS is toying with the idea of hauling mail and packages across the country with the help of self-driving trucks. It has awarded San Diego self-driving truck company TuSimple with a contract for a two-week pilot. The company’s vehicles will perform five round trips while hauling USPS trailers. These trips will cover 1,000 miles between the postal service’s Phoenix, Arizona and Dallas, Texas distribution centers.
TuSimple will also run the trucks for 22 hours each, including overnight driving along highways. This might end up saving USPS some money and it might even get mail where it is supposed to go faster.
Dr. Xiaodi Hou, president of TuSimple, says:
“It is exciting to think that before many people will ride in a robo-taxi, their mail and packages may be carried in a self-driving truck. Performing for the USPS on this pilot in this particular commercial corridor gives us specific use cases to help us validate our system, and expedite the technological development and commercialization progress.”
Long drives that last almost a whole day requires two drivers and using these trucks could address that problem. USPS will soon find out how feasible it is to rely on autonomous trucks to transport mail across the country. Will it reduce fuel costs, improve safety and make operations more efficient? We will see.