Traton and TuSimple pledge to develop autonomous trucks

New partnership sees European tests on level-four automation underway

Traton and TuSimple pledge to develop autonomous trucks
A Scania with autonomous sensors


VW subsidiary Traton, the parent of Scania and MAN, has signed a deal to develop self-driving trucks with TuSimple, a San Diego based self-driving technology company focused on heavy-duty vehicles.

The partnership is the first of its kind in Europe, bringing together a global OEM and SAE level 4 (L4) self-driving technology company, a statement on the announcement reads.

Traton and TuSimple have launched a development program to operate the first SAE level 4 autonomous hub-to-hub route between Södertälje to Jönköping in Sweden using Scania trucks.

As part of the partnership, Traton has also taken a minority stake in TuSimple.

"The global partnership with TuSimple is another step towards becoming a Global Champion. Innovative future technologies that provide additional value to our customers represent a key part of our strategy," Traton CEO Matthias Gründler says.

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Developers of both companies are working closely to develop SAE Level 4 autonomous systems for trucks of the Traton brands, including Scania and MAN, which can achieve full automation without human intervention under defined driving conditions and applied in all markets.

Traton outlines its goal as testing driverless truck fleets on roads throughout Sweden, Germany and other countries, which "could serve as a means of counteracting the increasing lack of drivers in the medium term", with experts estimating a shortage of around 60,000 drivers in Germany alone.

A similar issue is foreseen in Australia.

The first test vehicles underway are aiming for Level 4 (high automation).

TuSimple has already been trying out its technology since 2015 with several million test kilometers on public roads, the company notes.

"Our partnership with Traton Group accelerates the introduction of autonomous truck technology to new international markets, and we look forward to our global partnership," TuSimple president Cheng Lu says.

"The Traton Group has an excellent reputation and established a portfolio of world-class truck brands, their strategic investment in TuSimple is a powerful testimony to our technology and approach."


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