After tying up a deal with TuSimple, the strategic partnership between the autonomous truck system developer and Navistar means that there will be autonomous Internationals on their way in the next few years.
The plan is to to co-develop SAE Level 4 self-driving trucks targeted for production by 2024. The strategic partnership is the result of a successful technical relationship between the companies for more than two years. In addition, Navistar has taken a minority stake in TuSimple.
“Autonomous technology is entering our industry and will have a profound impact on our customers’ businesses,” said Persio Lisboa, President and CEO, Navistar.
“Navistar’s strategic partnership with TuSimple positions us to be a leader in developing solutions for our customers by leveraging our organisations’ collective expertise to integrate our vehicle design and systems integration capabilities with TuSimple’s innovative autonomous technology. This announcement marks a significant milestone in our development journey with TuSimple and we look forward to furthering our relationship in the months to come.”
The program between TuSimple and Navistar is planned to enable an integrated engineering solution that will be ready for mass-production using Navistar’s vehicle manufacturing capabilities. At that time customers are expected to 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 and now we are kicking-off a full go-to-market production program,” said Cheng Lu, President, TuSimple. “We are honoured to be partnered with Navistar. The investment in TuSimple and the partnership with Navistar marks an important milestone for our company. With the combined expertise of Navistar and TuSimple, we have a clear path to commercialise self-driving Class 8 trucks at scale.”
Last December, TuSimple announced results of a study conducted at the University of California San Diego that show the company’s autonomous driving technology reduced fuel consumption in heavy-duty trucks by 10 per cent when compared to traditional operations.
The company operates a fleet of 40 self-driving trucks in the U.S., shipping freight autonomously for companies such as UPS and McLane Company between Arizona and Texas. TuSimple plans to demonstrate completely driverless operations in 2021.