TuSimple, ZF announce self-driving tech tie up

TuSimple and ZF on Thursday announced a partnership between the two companies to develop and commercialize technology for autonomous trucks.

TuSimple, an autonomous trucking technology company, and ZF, a global supplier of multiple trucking components and technologies, expect to co-develop production-quality technologies including cameras, LiDAR, radar, steering and ZF’s automotive-grade central computer ZF ProAI.

As part of the partnership, ZF will contribute engineering support to validate and integrate TuSimple’s autonomous system into the vehicle, and will also support TuSimple’s pre-production driverless autonomous system, ultimately serving as the default supplier for the system.

TuSimple Chief Product Officer Chuck Price said working side-by-side with ZF to refine and integrate the company’s technology “has allowed us to optimize our hardware stack and focus on scaling these technologies to make it possible for autonomous ready trucks to be mass produced.”

“A key success factor for virtual driver software is to ensure the system is based on an automotive grade level, including component development and production,” said Torsten Gollewski, ZF’s executive vice president of autonomous mobility systems. “The combination of ZF automotive system competencies and TuSimple’s virtual driver software will create the first commercial-ready automotive grade autonomous truck technology platform.”

TuSimple company operates a fleet of more than 40 autonomous trucks, has 18 contracted customers and makes 20 autonomous trips between Arizona and Texas for companies like UPS every week. The company plans to start driverless operations in 2021.

The partnership between ZF and TuSimple is set to begin in April, and will cover the world’s largest trucking markets, including North America, Europe and China.