Post Office to test autonomous semi-trucks for hauling mail across state lines

The US Postal Service is testing its first long-haul self-driving delivery truck in a two-week pilot program that will use an autonomous tractor-trailer to deliver mail between distribution centers in Phoenix and Dallas.

TuSimple, a self-driving truck company, is providing the vehicle and will have a safety engineer and driver in the cab to monitor its performance and take control if there are any issues, the company said in announcing the test Tuesday. The Postal Service has been exploring the idea for some time, recently soliciting bids to put semi-autonomous mail trucks on the road in a few years that allow a human to sort the mail while being autonomously driven along the route.

The pilot program is limited, just five runs in late May. For TuSimple, the test drives are a chance to validate its vision of autonomous semis changing the dynamics and costs of long-haul trucking.

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