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What Will Happen to the Postman? Autonomous Trucks to Haul Mail for USPS

As of this week, some of your mail moves without a human in control from one distribution center to another. At least that’s what happens if your mail needs to pass through Phoenix or Dallas.
TuSimple to run delivery tests for USPS 1 photo
Being one of the most modern organizations out there – not – the United States Postal Service (USPS) enlisted the help of an autonomous vehicle start-up to get mail delivered to and from the two locations.

In an announcement made on Tuesday, San Diego-based TuSimple announced it has been awarded a contract from USPS to start a two-week pilot program of long-haul mail delivery.

As part of the deal, custom Peterbilt trucks will move mail from USPS distribution centers in Phoenix, Arizona and Dallas, Texas, on a distance of more than 1,000 miles. Five round trips will be performed, and each truck will have a safety engineer and driver on board in case something doesn’t go as planned.

According to TuSimple, the trucks will run 22 hours each, including overnight driving, along the I-10, I-20 and I-30 corridors, some of the busiest in the country in terms of economic activity.

The company says that if their machines survive this test, it will prove an invaluable validation of this technology.

"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," said in a statement TuSImple’s founder, Xiaodi Hou.

On its part, the USPS is trying to cut cost, as always, and believes self-driving trucks are one way of doing it. Using such vehicles on long-haul routes with overnight driving requirements will also rid the organization of its need to hire driving teams that become scarcer as by the year.

As per a research by American Trucking Associations. the transportation industry is estimated to have a driver shortage of 175,000 people by 2024.

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