View from truck cab
The view from the unoccupied truck cab during the test. Image from TuSimple video

San Diego-based autonomous driving company TuSimple announced Wednesday that a big-rig truck using its technology successfully completed an 80-mile run from Tucson to Phoenix.

The company described the test on Dec. 22 as “the world’s first fully autonomous semi-truck run on open public roads without a human in the vehicle and without human intervention.”

The route included surface streets, traffic signals, on-ramps, off-ramps, emergency lane vehicles, and highway lane changes in open traffic. Accompanying vehicles monitored the test and were prepared to stop the truck if a problem arose.

TuSimple released a video of the hour and 20-minute test with views from multiple cameras.

“By achieving this momentous technical milestone, we demonstrated the advanced capabilities of TuSimple’s autonomous driving system and the commercial maturity of our testing process, prioritizing safety and collaboration every step of the way. This test reinforces what we believe is our unique position at the forefront of autonomous trucking, delivering advanced driving technology at commercial scale,” said Cheng Lu, president and CEO of the company.

“This year, we were laser-focused on putting our technology through a rigorous test on open public roads under real-world conditions, and to see all our hard work and dedication come together is extremely rewarding,” he added.

The NASDAQ-listed company raised over $1 billion in an initial public offering in April.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.