TuSimple SAE Level 4 Self-Driving Truck - The Road to Autonomy

Culture of Safety and Innovation

Chuck Price, Chief Product Officer, TuSimple joins Grayson Brulte on The Road to Autonomy podcast to discuss TuSimple’s culture of safety and innovation.

In this episode, Grayson and Chuck start by discussing the economics of applying autonomy to fleets of trucks. Grayson asks Chuck if TuSimple ever considered creating a self-driving car.

In the founding of TuSimple, Chuck discusses why the founding team focused solely on trucking from day one. The team saw a difference in the economics of self-driving trucks.

We did see a difference. We saw that there were specific economic pain points in trucking. Robotaxis were solving a problem that didn’t appear to exist.

It was a fantasy, it was science fiction. It was a future were cities did not have to have individually owned cars. Where parking issues would be resolved. This is a grand vision without clear economic drivers.

– Chuck Price, Chief Product Officer, TuSimple

The conversation then veers into the universal driver debate and the great pivot to self-driving trucks from self-driving cars. Chuck shared his open and honest opinion on the universal driver.

I do not believe there is such a thing as a universal driver. It’s a marketing term.

– Chuck Price, Chief Product Officer, TuSimple

Wrapping up the conversation around the economics of self-driving trucks and why the universal driver is not the correct approach, the conversation shifts to TuSimple’s culture of safety and innovation.

TuSimple has a corporate culture of safety which they call ‘SafeGuard”. SafeGuard applies to every single employee in the company no matter what their job function or title is. From the individuals working on the trucks to the engineers writing the code to the executives leading corporate strategy, each and every employee is measured on their contribution to safety.

What Did You Do To Contribute to Safety?

– Chuck Price, Chief Product Officer, TuSimple

Safety is built into every aspect of what the company does, from the office to the depots to the on-road deployments. Drivers and safety engineers (Left and Right Seaters) go through six months of formal training before they are even able to touch the autonomy in the truck. Each and every safety driver goes through a drug test prior to being allowed in the vehicle.

TuSimple treats it’s drivers as Blue Angels as the company requires them to operate at the highest ability at all-times. When drivers and safety engineers leave the depot, they are monitored in real-time with in-cabin monitoring and drive cams to ensure the highest level of safety.

The culture of safety and innovation is attracting partners such as UPS, Penske, U.S. Xpress, and McLane Company Inc. to work with TuSimple. As TuSimple scales, the company is working with Navistar to develop SAE Level 4 self-driving trucks at the factory which are safety certified.

Rounding out the conversation, Grayson and Chuck talk about the economics of self-driving trucks and how TuSimple Self-Driving Trucks can show an ROI after the first 24 months of purchase.

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Recorded on Tuesday, September 8, 2020