More robots are taking over! UPS (NYSE:UPS) recently announced that it has purchased a minority stake in the self-driving truck startup TuSimple. The carrier also announced that it has been utilizing TuSimple’s self-driving trucks since May, testing out the vehicles on delivery routes between Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona.
What is TuSimple?
TuSimple is a tech and auto startup with the mission to commercialize the first-self driving truck. The company formed in 2015, and to date, has raised $178 million in funding rounds. Early investors include Nvidia, ZP Capital, and now, UPS.
Making waves in the news as well as on the road, TuSimple has also been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, Business Insider, The Verge, and a variety of other media outlets. Most recently, the US Postal Service even partnered with TuSimple on a two-week pilot to shuttle mail between Phoenix and Dallas’ USPS distribution centers. In case you were wondering, the pilot program was a success.
Self-Driving Trucks and Other Robots Could Be the Future of Package Delivery
A major carrier such as UPS buying a stake in a self-driving startup like TuSimple is a huge indicator of where the shipping industry may be headed. Most people are divided between whether or not the human element will remain a constant as time goes on. However, it’s obvious that the shipping business is careening towards the future. The proof is in the pudding. Just this past year, another startup called BoxBot has been attempting to disrupt last mile delivery. Ford Motors unveiled a robot that walks and drops off packages on doorsteps. FedEx rolled out its own autonomous delivery robot called SameDay. Amazon has also been testing delivery drones capable of landing and taking off to deliver packages.
From where we’re standing, we don’t think the human element is leaving the shipping industry any time soon…but it seems that new disruptive tech is emerging almost every other week now. With their recent investment in TuSimple, UPS has poised itself to get ahead of the trend.