TUCSON, Ariz. — Registration will begin Thursday for the first autonomous driver certificate program for truck drivers at Pima Community College.
Classes begin in September.
The program is a collaboration between Pima and self-driving truck company TuSimple.
The Autonomous Vehicle Driver and Operations Specialist program will equip truck drivers with the knowledge and skills to expand their roles in this new and rapidly expanding industry, Pima and TuSimple said in a news release.
The certificate will prepare individuals for jobs such as training the autonomous system as test drivers, operating the vehicle in situations where autonomous driving is not suitable and to remotely monitor the system from a command center, the partners said.
The Autonomous Vehicle Driver and Operations Specialist certificate program will teach experienced truck drivers how to operate and work with autonomous trucks in as quickly as one semester. The program requires a Class A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) prior to enrollment as drivers will build on their trucking knowledge with each course.
TuSimple and Pima Community College have co-created a curriculum for the certificate program that comprises of five classes. The courses are: Introduction to Autonomous Vehicles, Industrial Safety, Computer Hardware Components, Electrical Systems I, as well as, Transportation and Traffic Management. In conjunction with the program, TuSimple will prioritize hiring graduates of the certificate program for jobs at its Tucson testing and development center.
“It’s clear that the future of truck transportation will offer new employment opportunities for today’s drivers but it will require a set of new skills,” said Lee Lambert, chancellor of Pima Community College. “Working with TuSimple to develop this Autonomous Vehicle Driver and Operations Specialist certificate program ensures our students will build competencies in multiple areas – from logistics and information technology to automated industrial technology. These areas are being transformed by autonomy and drivers will need training in order to interact with autonomous trucks.”
For information or to enroll, please call Pima Community College’s Center for Transportation Training at 520-206-2744.
“In keeping with TuSimple’s mission to create the safest autonomous driving fleet, an essential aspect of the training program is to ensure that drivers have access to appropriate training for this new technology and employment opportunities,” stated Dr. Xiaodi Hou, founder, president and chief technology officer at TuSimple. “We commend Pima Community College for offering this innovative and exciting program that can help address the acute driver shortage. The program offers driving professionals a smooth transition into an emerging field that requires different skill sets in addition to existing truck driving knowledge by providing training.”
Pima and TuSimple said the certificate program was created along the backdrop of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s study examining how the development and deployment of automated vehicle-related technology is expected to impact the transportation workforce. The first phase of the DOT study will focus on the long-haul trucking and transit bus sectors and will result in a report to Congress, expected later this year.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.