Oct 06, 2022

TuSimple christens new Tucson self-driving truck facility

Tucson, AZ (October 6, 2022) – Self-driving truck developer TuSimple has more room to grow in Tucson after christening a new facility at its development center and terminal on East Old Vail Road.

Gov. Doug Ducey and local officials were on hand Thursday for a formal ribbon-cutting event at the new, 35,000-square foot office, lab and warehouse space.

TuSimple Chairman and CEO Xiaodi Hou, in a video recording since he couldn’t attend, thanked Ducey for enabling testing of self-driving vehicles and local leaders for helping the company thrive, calling Arizona “the leading place in the U.S. for investments in autonomous technology.”

Hou said TuSimple’s technology can significantly improve traffic safety, reduce trucking fatalities and help relieve current supply-chain shortages, citing a shortage of an estimated 80,000 truck drivers.

TuSimple’s milestone comes after the recent announcement that robo-taxi developer will base its first and only operation in Arizona at Pima Community College’s new Automotive Technology & Innovation Center at its Downtown campus. Google’s Waymo has been testing self-driving cars in the Phoenix area.

Ducey congratulated TuSimple on its expansion milestone and said the state has become a magnet for autonomous-vehicle development after beating other states to form a regulatory framework for testing.

“With our flag firmly planted as America’s AV hub, high-tech jobs and companies have come flocking to our state,” he said.

Partnering with truck makers including Navistar, Peterbilt and Traton, and shippers including UPS and the U.S. Postal Service, TuSimple has been testing its self-driving trucks with monitor drivers along Interstate 10 from its Tucson site since 2017. More recently, the company has logged more than 500 miles of completely driverless runs in cooperation with transportation and law enforcement.

The company, which is subject to a federal probe of a minor crash involving a TuSimple truck in April, hopes to win federal approval for autonomous truck runs by 2024.

With the new building, San Diego-based TuSimple has roughly doubled the footprint of its Tucson operation, which after the company added about 100 jobs in the past two years now employs about 300 workers.

By David Wichner, Arizona Daily Star

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