TuSimple Becomes First San Diego Company To Test Self-Driving Vehicles


TuSimple joins the ranks of GM, Google, Tesla, and Ford this week in acquiring a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test autonomous driving vehicles on the road.

TuSimple's autonomous systems can now tackle real Southern California road conditions like potholes, traffic, and random human driving behaviors "“ though always with a human driver watching out behind the wheel.

Though this is an important step forward on the road to fully autonomous driving, there's still a lot of work to be done, says co-founder Xiaodi Hou.

"This permit doesn't represent a technological innovation or milestone," says Hou. "If we think about applying for the permit as if it were a kind of test, its requirements are relatively easy to fulfill. But real ability in autonomous driving is a different thing altogether."

Real progress always happens behind the scenes, says Hou, and TuSimple will continue to do what it's always done - quietly write the algorithms, do the research, and test the equipment necessary to make autonomous driving a reality.

TuSimple is also the first company on the list to be based in San Diego. Hou likes it that way.

"I never wanted to be in Silicon Valley or the Bay Area," he explains. "I like San Diego because it has a humility to it. People in San Diego aren't talkers "“ they're doers. They just work hard and don't talk much about it. This is so different from the flashy opportunism of the Bay Area. And it's what makes TuSimple special, too. We don't tout our popularity, or investment appeal, or 'disruptive potential'. We just sit down and do the work."

Now that they have an autonomous driving permit, the company plans to hit the ground running.

They've scheduled a 420-mile test run from San Diego to Tucson, AZ at the end of June, in which they plan to test out a fully autonomous L4 system.

"We're excited," Hou says. "Careful, cautious"¦but excited."

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TuSimple Becomes First San Diego Company To Test Self-Driving Vehicles
Modified on Thursday 15th June 2017
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