LISLE, Ill. — Navistar International Corp. has partnered with TuSimple to co-develop SAE Level 4 self-driving Class 8 trucks, the companies announced July 15. Level 4 autonomous vehicles are capable of handling most driving situations without the assistance of a human driver, although a qualified driver is still required to monitor the vehicle’s function and to take over when necessary.
Navistar is known as the producer of International brand commercial trucks and proprietary diesel engines, and San Diego-based TuSimple is a global company focused on self-driving technologies; the companies have enjoyed a successful technical relationship for the past two years. Working together, the two companies hope to have SAE Level 4 autonomous trucks in production by 2024. 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 of Navistar.
“Navistar’s strategic partnership with TuSimple positions us to be a leader in developing solutions for our customers by leveraging our organizations’ collective expertise to integrate our vehicle design and systems integration capabilities with TuSimple’s innovative autonomous technology,” Lisboa continued. “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.”
Navistar brings to the partnership 113 years of experience in developing and marketing commercial vehicles under the International and IC Bus brands. The program between TuSimple and Navistar will ensure a fully integrated engineering solution that will be ready for mass production using Navistar’s vehicle manufacturing capabilities. Customers will be able to purchase the fully autonomous trucks through Navistar’s traditional sales channels in the U.S., 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 of TuSimple.
“We are honored to be partnered with Navistar. The investment in TuSimple and the partnership with Navistar marks an important milestone for our company,” Lu said. “With the combined expertise of Navistar and TuSimple, we have a clear path to commercialize self-driving Class 8 trucks at scale.”
This partnership propels TuSimple’s aims to transform the $800 billion U.S. trucking industry by enhancing safety, increasing efficiency and significantly reducing operating costs, according to the July 15 announcement. Last December, TuSimple announced the 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% when compared to traditional operations.
TuSimple operates a fleet of 40 self-driving trucks in the U.S., shipping freight autonomously for companies such as UPS and McLane Co. between Arizona and Texas. TuSimple has announced that it plans to debut completely driverless vehicles next year.