The world is evolving at a fantastic pace these days. It wasn't so long ago we had cars without seatbelts, and now we have the IoT in our homes. We can have Alexa order a new energy-efficient smart car with satellite radio, OnStar, insurance, and custom seat covers. A giant truck will deliver it to our driveway, and we don't even have to get off the couch. Technology is getting so smart; we don't even have to think to use it anymore. Sometimes we wonder if that's a good thing. However, some new things are definitely positive solutions, and that's what simple is proving with their innovative use of AI trucks.
1. San Francisco
You might expect a company that created AI trucking to be somewhere like New York City, but TuSimple is a California company that's headquartered in San Francisco. We're not sure, but we think it's a fair guess to say that all those hills inspired someone to think outside the box when it comes to navigating the hazards of the road. San Francisco is famous for many things, like its thriving culture. However, if you've ever driven there, you can easily see why anyone might want a vehicle that handles those steep hills on its own.
2. AI Trucks
What is the point of having an AI drive a truck? People are still up in arms about the AI car that hit a cyclist, but that's the exception, not the rule. Trucks like those created by TuSimple ae anything but 'simple.' In fact, they're more than capable of doing the job, and they don't have any human weaknesses. No AI's will ever fall asleep at the wheel of these semi-trucks, causing a crash. If someone crashes into them and the truck has an accident, no driver will ever be injured. AI's don't drink, do drugs or have a bad day because they broke up with their girlfriend. Plus, they can do thousands of calculations per second and use an array of cameras to see more than any human driver ever could.
AI or self-driving vehicles is a new field. Still, it's noteworthy that TuSimple is the first of their kind to reach Unicorn status. With a valuation of over a billion dollars and seemingly constant expansions, this is one company that's going places. Doubtless, in the near future, we'll be seeing more billion-dollar self-driven companies emerge, but TuSimple will always be the company that won the race to the top.
4. Virtual Mailman
How does a trucking company break a billion without any drivers? Well, they're certainly saving money on things like salary and insurance, but that's not where the value of the company lies. First, they've got investors who believe in TuSimple and are willing to put their money where their mouths are. Secondly, the people at TuSimple knew who needed a hand, and they started there. The TS trucks have been delivering the mail. They aren't the ones who put it in your mailbox obviously, but the big trucks carry loads of letters and packages between cities.
5. In Arizona
TuSimple may be a San Francisco company, but that's not where their trucks are running right now. The initial run for these self-driving semis is in Arizona. There's a route that goes to Dallas as well. Running the mail from AZ to Texas and back may not seem like a brilliant start for a company, but it has given them plenty of time and long roads to show how good their trucks are.
6. Reduced Carbon Emissions
According to Benzinga, a study has found that TuSimple trucks are more energy efficient. Moreover, at ten percent more fuel-efficient, that's like delivering a hundred trucks worth of full loads, but doing so with only ninety trucks. It may not be the level of CO2 emission reduction we need on a global scale, but it certainly counts as a step in the right direction.
Just because TuSimple doesn't need drivers for their vehicles, that doesn't mean they have no employees. In fact, according to CrunchBase, they have several hundred employees. From executives to techs and maintenance workers who service the vehicles, TuSimple has between two hundred fifty and five hundred regular employees. Even AI-run self-driving trucks still need someone to pump their gas, check the breaks, and of course, write and adjust their programming. A traditional truck has a driver, but these high tech trucks require more technical specialists, so in the end, the workforce isn't really losing out on jobs. TuSimple just hires different types of employees.
Who created the incredible ideas behind TuSimple? Founders Jianan Hao, Mo Chen, and Xiaodi Hou are the ones responsible for creating TuSimple. Back in 2015, the trio saw where the future of shipping was headed, and they wanted to be the ones to get there first. If you're interested in finding out more about these genius creators, we suggest you start with Xiaodi Hou's webpage, where he talks about the company and himself extensively.
How can you connect with and learn more about a company like TuSimple? Well, the answer is too simple. They have a LinkedIn page like most businesses do these days. You can follow them there, and even contact the company if you have questions or inquiries about services. In this tech-savvy era, every company is online if you know where to look.
Whether you're a venture capitalist or an average joe, you can get in on the action of this growing billion-dollar trucking company. Naturally, anyone who wishes to contribute a substantial sum should contact the company directly. However, for the rest of us, there's a less expensive way to invest in TuSimple. You can add some stock to your portfolio. Unfortunately, you can't buy indirectly, but you can invest in companies that are investing in TS. UPS, for example, was one of the first to see the value of the self-driving trucks. You can pick up a few shares of UPS easily enough, and without needing to invest millions.
Not only is TuSimple cutting its emissions and helping the environment, but they're also cutting costs. From fuel efficiency, meaning less fuel, and hence fewer fuel costs to not needing life insurance on drivers, it's easy to see where TS isn't spending money. Instead, it all goes into expansion and upgrades.
12. AI in Training
As of the time this article is published, the TuSimple trucks are still classified as a Level 4 Autonomous Vehicle. What that means is that there's a driver inside the truck ready to take over at a moment's notice in case of emergencies. However, they hope to have that restriction removed by the end of the year according to wired.com.
We know we've mentioned several times that TuSimple is expanding. The most recent round of fundraising got them a hundred twenty million dollars that it put toward adding to its fleet. Driverless delivery trucks are gaining in popularity, and now that people and big businesses are paying attention, they're also interested in paying for services. However, without more trucks, TuSimple will be limited to no more than they're already doing.
14. Most Dangerous Job in America
If you're a fan of shows like Deadliest Catch, or you know someone who does repairs to cellular towers or works on an oil platform at sea, then you know that all those jobs have been among the most dangerous for a long time. It may surprise you to discover that Driving trucks is also among the most likely to injure or kill an employee. Moreover, the relative pay for the work is low. Truck drivers are risking their lives on dark roads, and TuSimple wants to help stop that.
15. Truck Driver Shortage
As it turns out, dangerous jobs that don't pay well are also jobs fewer people want these days. There's a shortage of truck drivers compared to the number of trucking jobs available. So the TuSimple trucks aren't actually taking work from drivers. In addition to being better for the environment, safer on the road, and more cost-effective, they're simply filling a much-needed gap in the supply and demand chain.
16. Follow TuSimple on Twitter
Are you intrigued yet? We certainly are. Keeping up with technology and companies that interest us is one of our favorite things about the internet. You can follow along with TuSimple's latest news and advances by subscribing to their Twitter feed for the latest trending TS news and updates. We love being the first to know and getting our info directly from the source whenever possible. Hence, we're already subscribed so we can watch the future of shipping unfold in front of us. AI vehicles are like the IoT. Whether you like them or not, they're here, and they're useful, so they're going to stay.
17. Doing the Math
A Driver has their experience and reaction speed to rely on. However, that's about all they have to drive with. They can't get upgrades or new programming, and the longer they do the job gaining experience, the more likely their age will also interfere with their reflexes. TuSimple has solved this problem by taking them out of the equation. It's simple, elegant math, and an AI can do thousands of calculations per second.
18. Good Behavior
Most AI-driven companies are more than a little hesitant to put real people at risk, especially investors. Not TuSimple, however. They had this to say: “We are one of the only truck automation companies that are willing to give rides in our vehicles. We’re throwing trucks into crazy traffic, and investors see that. They come away believing that what we say is true – this thing is behaving properly in some crazy, real-world situations.”
19. Going the Distance
It's a thousand miles of incredibly dull, largely flat, the road from Phoenix to Dallas. If you head south to take I10, which is where the majority (over 60%) of the shipping traffic in the US travels, there's a stretch along the interstate where there are no gas stations to stop at and not much to see for more than a hundred miles. In short, it's the ideal route for an AI. The USPS and TuSimple have teamed up to make that happen, and so far, it's going well.
20. 3D Imaging
When a human driver loos out the window of a truck, they have a limited perception of the road around them and the conditions of that road. Fortunately, when an AI truck like those from TuSimple hits the road, it can use a complex network of sensors and cameras to create a highly accurate and adaptable 3D image of the surrounding road. This lets the AI see far better than a human ever could.
With all the innovations TuSimple has made in their rapidly expanding field, it's no wonder they broke a billion last year. We're all for the idea of having safer roads, cleaner air, and more prompt deliveries. Safety and innovation are both top priorities for this ingenious AI trucking company. We expect to see a whole lot more TuSimple trucks on the roads in years to come. What do you think of companies that are changing the way people see AI? Let us know in the comments section below.
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee