TuSimple Reveals Significant Safety Advantages of Autonomous Trucking

autonomous trucking

Motor carriers can create their own driving studies to improve fleet safety.

Utilizing trucking telematics data from ELD provider Geotab, TuSimple analyzed autonomous miles driven with their technology and directly compared the data to miles driven by humans. Human operated vehicles used a benchmark rate of critical driving events per 100 miles in the same vehicle types and vocation as other motor carrier fleets.

ELD telematic devices gather millions of data points including:

– dates
– time
– longitude and latitude
– engine power status
– odometer readings
– engine faults
– critical events data  
– harsh braking
– hard turning
– hard acceleration
– HOS violations
– idling
– speeding
– and more  

In this study, the telematics data measured critical driving events, such as harsh acceleration, braking and cornering that can increase the risk and frequency of accidents.

Who is TuSimple?

TuSimple is a global autonomous driving technology company, headquartered in San Diego, California, with operations in Arizona, Texas, Europe, and China with hopes to transform the $4 trillion global truck freight industry.

Their AI technology makes it possible for trucks to see over .6 miles away, operate nearly continuously, and consume 10% less fuel than manually driven trucks.

TuSimple’s Telematic Autonomous Study Highlights

According to TuSimple’s report, the initial results from a 10-week sample analyzing 80,000 miles demonstrate a significant reduction in industry standard harsh driving events by TuSimple’s autonomous driving technology relative to benchmark rates and human-operated driving.

The data was collected in a variety of conditions, including day, night, rain, and extreme heat as well as on highways and surface streets.

“We’re incredibly excited about the initial study results and the potential for TuSimple’s technology to provide a new standard for safety for the trucking industry,” said Jim Mullen, Chief Administrative Officer for TuSimple. “We believe building and validating the safest and most efficient driver will save lives and truly transform our industry. Carriers rightfully cherish their multimillion-mile drivers, and TuSimple’s technology is designed to provide an even higher level of safety across our fleet partners.”

By gathering real-time insights, the data suggests that TuSimple’s autonomous technology has lower harsh event rates when contrasted with benchmark rates and human-operated driving (see chart below).

Event TypeNumber of events per 100 miles
(TuSimple Autonomous
Technology)
Number of events per 100 miles
(Industry Human-Operated
Driving)
Harsh Braking0 – 0.020.08 – 0.10
Harsh Acceleration0.11 – 0.160.99 – 1.06
Harsh Cornering0.04 – 0.101.18 – 1.89

Motor carriers can create their own driving studies to improve fleet safety

Many ELD providers, including our partner Pedigree Technologies, have created driver and safety scorecards that are easy to set-up, manage, and pull reports.

For example, Pedigree driver and safety scorecards include stats, such as:

  • Number of HOS violations
  • Idling greater than 20 minutes
  • Idling percentage
  • Hard braking event
  • Speeding greater than 5mph
  • Fuel efficiency
  • Heavy acceleration event

These scorecards are point-based starting at 100 points and any selected stat can remove a certain amount of points based on the severity. They can be customized further by adding a timeframe duration of the stat or distance traveled.

Review the video below to gain an understanding of how Pedigree structures their scorecards.

For example, a driver can lose 15 points for every time a hard-braking event happens every 100 miles, or a driver can lose 5 points for any Hours-of-Service Util. % is under 75% per day.

Scorecard reporting can be customized by timeframe (the previous 7 days or month), selected vehicle or vehicle types (semi/long-haul trucks, medium-sized trucks, construction vehicles, etc.), and more.


Further ELD Questions? Get a Free Demo

Contact us with any questions. Our ELD specialists can perform a demo with our ELD devices.

The Pedigree ELD reporting tool also shows if the driver has performed better or worse over the previous week or month.

Does your ELD provider offer similar reporting tools? If not, learn more about Pedigree Technologies

Learn more about how to use your ELD telematic data for customized video training and driver incentive programs.

Need help managing your ELD data?

Managing ELD data yourself can be confusing and stressful and requires a much different back-office skill set than managing paper processes. However, it does not have to be.

We offer comprehensive ELD Management Services no matter what ELD system you are using allowing you to start taking advantage of your ELD data.

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.

First Heavy-duty Electric Truck Charging Site Opens In Oregon

First Heavy-duty Electric Truck Charging Site Opens In Oregon
(Image Courtesy: DTNA – Daimler Trucks North America)

The charging station will allow both Portland General Electric and Daimler to study energy management, charger use and performance, and Daimler vehicles charging performance.

First announced in December 2020, “Electric Island” in Portland, Oregon represents the first location specifically designed for medium- and heavy-duty trucks and has eight vehicle charging stations for electric cars, buses, box vans and semi-trucks.

In collaboration with the West Coast Clean Transit Corridor Initiative (WCCTCI), with nine electric utilities and two government agencies, this is a part of the plan to electrify 1,300 miles of I-5 across the three West Coast states to provide publicly available charging for freight and delivery trucks.

Additional plans include on-site energy storage, solar power generation, and a product and technology showcase building.  Electric Island aims to address the intersection of vehicles and the grid, creating new opportunities for future EV drivers and utility customers.

“In Oregon, we are committed to taking action to address climate change, and we know that the future of transportation is electric. Today, the charging station at Electric Island, the first known freight charging station on the I-5 corridor, shows that Oregon is the ideal place to innovate and develop 21st-Century transportation infrastructure,” said Oregon Governor Kate Brown. “Thanks to the partnership of Portland General Electric and Daimler Trucks North America, we are working together towards our goal of creating a West Coast Electric Highway.”

Read more: Electric and autonomous semi-trucks beyond 2020

Charging site will eventually achieve five Megawatts of power

Currently the highest power unit installed at the Swan Island charging site is 150 Kilowatts, but it can go up to 350 kilowatts.

To compare, Tesla Superchargers can deliver 72 kilowatts of power, even if another Tesla begins charging in an adjacent stall, with an average Supercharging session lasting around 45-50 minutes in city centers.

The station will eventually bring five megawatts of power from the grid with both 400-Volt and 800-Volt charging available, and some of the units will go to 1,000 volts.

Nate Hill, head of charging infrastructure for Daimler, said “this level of charging capability will be necessary to recharge the larger battery packs that are planned to power Daimler’s new line of Class 6/7 and Class 8 semi-trucks that will be produced here in Portland.”

Daimler plans to begin production of the eCascadia semi-truck in late 2022, and the eM2 box truck about six months later in 2023. With a range of 230-250 miles on a charge, both models are designed for urban and regional use, rather than cross-country applications.

Read More: Breaking Down Biden’s First Half $2.3T Infrastructure plan



Proactive DOT Compliance

At CNS, our DOT Compliance Programs focus on Proactive Safety Management (PSM),a mindset that will ensure your fleet’s safety and compliance is always in order and ahead of the FMCSA.

Our PSM Motor Carrier Program includes:

  • ELD management
  • Driver Qualification File Management
  • New driver on-boarding
  • Driver safety meetings
  • CSA score management
  • Policies and handbooks
  • Vehicle maintenance
  • and more

Learn more about our DOT Compliance Programs

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.

Electric and autonomous semi-trucks beyond 2020

electric and autonomous semi trucks
The Tesla Semi. Source: Tesla

2020 has been a year of validating the future of electronic vehicles and testing of autonomous long-haul driving.

Electronic and autonomous trucking will be here quicker than you think. Don’t worry, truckers will not be effected tomorrow, but it is definitely something to think about over the next decade or two.

Last week, Tesla held their battery day event revealing new battery technology and plans to dramatically increase battery production for electric vehicles (EVs), including the Tesla Semi that will be in production after Gigafactory Texas is built.

For those who were not excited about Tesla Battery Day, then you probably did not understand it.

Tesla, an automotive and energy company currently valued at double that of Texas’ oil company Exxon Mobile, showed a big step in the right direction for EVs and autonomous driving, and not just for Tesla.

Check out our industry library resources of 15 videos, 2 ebooks, industry links, and CNS In The News content.

The California Governor just signed an order that will ban the sales of new gasoline cars by 2035 in the state after previously announcing California fleets to phase out sales of new diesel trucks and buses by 2045. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) estimates that 2 million diesel trucks cause 70% of smog-causing pollution in the state.

Furthermore, autonomous trucking company–Locomation—will be equipping their platooning technology into 1,120 of Wilson Logistics trucks as early as 2022.

For the trucking industry, let us break down what technology is available now and what may be available by the end of the decade.

Tesla Semi is planned to be in production by the end of 2021

Tesla confirmed recently that the Tesla Semi will be produced at Gigafactory Texas alongside Cybertruck, Model 3, Model Y, and battery production.

The current timeline for “first completion” of the Austin, Texas factory is planned for May 2021, which has been under development for almost two months. The Tesla Semi is currently planned to be in production by the end of 2021 in Texas and Gigafactory Nevada will support Tesla Semi production.

When Tesla first announced the Class 8 heavy-duty truck, they said it would have a 500 mile (805 km) range on a full charge and would be able to run for 400 miles (640 km) after an 80% charge in 30 minutes using a “Tesla Megacharger” charging station.

CEO Elon Musk also said that the Tesla Semi would come standard with Tesla Autopilot that allows semi-autonomous driving on highways.

Tesla’s head of the Tesla Semi program, Jerome Guillen, said back in June that they currently “have a few trucks that keep driving around and that can deliver cars. But we’re going to accelerate that. I want to be clear that the first few units, we will use ourselves, to carry our own freight, probably mostly between Fremont and Reno, which is a fantastic test route. We’re going to prove that we have very good reliability. So far, the early units do have it, but we’ll do that at a larger scale. And we have also promised some early units to some long-term, very patient, and supportive customers, and we’ll do that.”

The bottleneck slowing down the Tesla Semi program has been battery cell supply, but he mentioned that Tesla expects to have more cells to expand the lineup next year.

Tesla has been taking reservations for the electric truck and said that the production versions will have 300-mile and 500+ mile range versions for $150,000 and $180,000, respectively. Walmart just announced that they will more than triple their order of Tesla Semis to 130 as a part of a serious sustainability push.

With the new batteries to be produced in Gigafactory Texas, Tesla forecasts a 54% boost in range along with a 56% reduction in cost per kilowatt hour, given 18 months to three years to see the impact.

For the Tesla Semi, a 54% boost in range would expand reach to 462 and 770 miles respectively.

According to CCJ, Mike Roeth, executive director at the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE), said that while range improvements will help win over fleets, it’s simply too early to tell how Semi might benefit and that “the industry has reached some consensus that electric trucks make complete sense in about 300 miles of range.”

“Range is a crucial determinate for battery electric trucks replacing engines, specifically diesels in trucks,” Roeth said. “These improvements are impressive and will help accelerate adoption. But the 300 and 500 mile range announcements from 2017 have yet to be validated as Tesla has not delivered Semis to customers or shared third party verified data.”

There is much that still needs to be considered before mass adoption of electric fleet vehicles like the Tesla Semi. This includes dozens to hundreds of megacharging stations to be built at trucking terminals and over the road chargers meant for truckers, showing they can handle consistent next day maintenance repairs if the truck breaks down, etc.

However, US electric truck sales are now expected to increase to over 54,000 units by 2025.

Other Electric Trucks:

Hyliion: There are already 20 trucks operating with Hyliion’s electric powertrains, built via ventures with Dana Corp. and Volvo. The e-axle could be retrofitted onto old trucks, or built into new ones. The benefits were clear—the e-axle would provide a helping hand, adding power and torque that allowed the diesel block to work more efficiently, improving fuel mileage and lowering emissions. Naturally, the system also captures power via regenerative braking, which, given the mass of a semitruck, can be substantial. Batteries must be able to absorb 5 kilowatt-hours of power from braking on a steep hill, then turn around and feed that power back to the drivetrain during acceleration.

Dailmer: Daimler/Freightliner’sheavy-duty eCascadia was premiered in Portland, Oregon in June 2018 and is currently undergoing practical tests with customers in the United States in a variety of applications including regional and local distribution, food distribution and parcel delivery.

The eCascadia has a target range for series production of up to 250 miles (compared to Tesla Semi’s 300 and 500+ model range). Production of the eCascadia is scheduled to start in mid-2022.

Nikola: If you are wondering about the Nikola semi, do not hold your breath. The company is facing incredible scrutiny after a scathing report by short-seller firm Hindenburg Research that accused the company of fraud.

Unlike Tesla Semi, the Nikola semi displayed in their video announcement was a “pusher” going downhill, not producing its own power. Additionally, there are no hydrogen stations being built across the U.S, no vehicle production in the works as of yet, and the company is facing a big legal battle after their founder recently “stepped away” from the company.

Autonomous self-driving is seeing massive progress from multiple companies

The race is on for fully autonomous driving to become reality. The aim is Level 4 autonomy, meaning full automation without human intervention under “defined driving conditions and applied in all markets.”

For fleets to realize economic gains from autonomy requires a new set of processes and systems designed to assure safety and provide a positive return on investment. Over time, fleets would expect to see more balanced routes and reduction in mixed traffic and commuter congestion. If the technology is nailed, then peak hours of travel can be circumnavigated to provide greater assurance on cargo arrival times, partnered with improved safety of fellow road-users.

For long-haul truckers, many hope the slow diffusion of autonomous technology should leave plenty of time for operations optimization and new opportunities rising across the supply chain as traditional driving transitions.

Let’s take a look at several companies striving for autonomous driving.

Daimler and Torc Robotics: In 2019, Daimler bought autonomous vehicle firm Torc Robotics, acquiring “advanced, road-ready technology” for level 4 autonomous driving while Plus.AI conducted the first real-world commercial freight delivery by a self-driving truck, carrying 40,000 pounds of Land O’Lakes butter in a three-day trip across the United States.

Waymo: Part of Google parent Alphabet, Waymo has done driving tests in Georgia, Michigan, California, and Arizona. Their testing still had a human operator behind the wheel if anything goes wrong. They have 40 autonomous trucks right now and hope to have self-driving trucks operate between Los Angeles, California and Jacksonville, Florida by 2023 or 2024.

Kodiak Robotics: Kodiak is backed by some big names and is working to bolster the opportunity by using the driverless technology on the more predictable and less dynamic highways. They are focusing on autonomous vehicles that are used between a drop-off or pick-up sites that can include more technical challenges.

TuSimple:  An autonomous driving technology start-up focused on heavy-duty commercial trucks, TuSimple currently operates in China, San Diego, CA and Tucson, AZ. They operate 40 self-driving truck fleet in the United States that are used for transporting freight between Arizona and Texas. The trucks have accrued more than 1 million safe miles so far and run routes for UPS and McLane Co. They recently joined with Traton’s Scania trucks to roll out autonomous vehicle operations to Europe with TuSimple’s Level 4 automation system that can drive without any human intervention.

Locomation: A company spun out of a prestigious university robotics lab, Locomation will equip 1,120 Wilson Logistics trucks with their convoy technology, which enables driverless trucks to follow a lead-truck piloted by a human, combining the best of autonomous technology with reliable human-in-the-loop driving protocols. The first units will be delivered in early 2022.

This agreement followed a successful pilot program involving two Locomation trucks hauling Wilson Logistics trailers and freight on a 420 mile-long route from Portland, OR to Nampa, ID. As opposed to truly driverless technologies pursued by Waymo, Embark, TuSimple, and others, Locomation always requires at least one driver to be alert and in control.

Tesla: Tesla will likely release a new fully functional version of its Full Self Driving package to private beta testers in Fall 2020 after undergoing a “fundamental rewrite” of its software that boasts over a million cars with full self-driving computer and hardware that has been collecting tons of data.

Tesla has released various components that will eventually equal the sum of Full Self Driving, including Smart Summon (slow speed in carparks), Navigate on Autopilot (high speed on freeways) and most recently, stop and go through traffic lights. The full self-driving technology will be built in with Tesla Semi that is to be in production in late 2021.

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, fully autonomous trucking will be here faster than you think.

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.

Future of Autonomous Trucks

Imagine driving down a road and looking into the window of a truck and seeing no driver.  That is starting to become the reality of the trucking industry! The invention of autonomous trucks are becoming more popular as the technology improves.  The use of radar and cameras on trucks are helping the truck to be more safe, but there is still a long road ahead.

Autonomous trucks driving down the road are more popular than ever
Trucking is becoming human-less. Autonomous trucks are becoming increasingly popular and being led by Uber and other technology firms.

There are fewer and fewer drivers pursuing a career in trucking every year. The FMCSA says that by 2024, there could be 175,000 less truck drivers on the road.  For this reason, trucking professionals and industry leaders are trying to get ahead by technology. Some trucking companies are using radar technology, while others are using cameras as their primary safety control and radar as backup.  

The technology already exists for trucks to drive on highways but when it comes to urban areas, there are more issues because of pedestrians, right-of-ways, traffic lights, stop signs, etc.  This is tougher to program because there are so many unknowns and it can be very dangerous for pedestrians crossing the street. The truck must also understand all rules of the road and be as alert as a real truck driver before it can become more popular.  

As of October 2017, there have been autonomous trucks delivering for FrigidAire.  They are currently making 650 mile trips from Texas to California only, but are looking to increase the number of places that they drive and the distance that they drive. FrigidAire uses companies that use radar technology.  

Companies such as TuSimple use cameras to pinpoint where on the road they are, and where there are other vehicles.  They equip the truck with about 10 cameras and use radar as backup. These cameras can detect danger 300 meters which provides the truck plenty of time to stop in case of an emergency.  

While both of those technologies still use a human to override control if needed, the real future of the industry is eliminating the human element, and that is what Uber is aiming to do with their technological strides.  Currently, their trucks drive a distance on the highway, but as soon as the truck exits the highway, a driver enters the truck to in to take it the rest of the way.

The trucking industry, regulated by the FMCSA, always tries to keep up with the newest technology to keep their truckers and other people on the roads safe.  Autonomous trucks are the newest technology in the industry and can help solve the issue of a declining number of truck drivers. Technologies such as radar technology and cameras on trucks will eventually be able to eliminate the need for trucker drivers behind the wheel.