This pilot was a success in that it was “boring,” said Danny Shapiro, senior director of automotive at NVIDIA, the company that makes the computer “brain” used in the TuSimple trucks.
“The best pilot run is boring,” Shapiro told FedScoop. “Nothing happens. We don’t want anything to happen” — except, of course, for the trucks to transport that mail safely from point A to point B.
The total distance of each of the five trips was around 2,200 miles. Such a route typically takes a human driver about 48 hours to complete, including stops for rest. Autonomous trucking could cut down on that time considerably.
“This pilot is just one of many ways the Postal Service is innovating and investing in its future,” the agency said in a statement. “We are conducting research and testing as part of our efforts to operate a future class of vehicles which will incorporate new technology to accommodate a diverse mail mix, enhance safety, improve service, reduce emissions, and produce operational savings.”
The Postal Service did not comment on what comes next or whether it intends to continue with similar pilots.