TuSimple Holdings, Inc. (TuSimple), a global autonomous driving technology company, has on Monday announced it has begun Level 4 autonomous test runs on Japan’s most critical freight corridor that connects the major cities of Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka.

TuSimple said in a statement that in 2021, TuSimple Japan, a subsidiary of TuSimple, completed a series of safety validation and testing work of its autonomous driving system with a local Japanese original equipment manufacturer (OEM)’s truck.

In January 2023, TuSimple Japan commenced regular testing on the Tomei Expressway.

According to the statement, Japan’s freight industry faces a serious challenge of driver shortage and aging population.

Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications reported in 2022 that 45.2 percent of the drivers in the country’s transportation industry were aged 50 or older.

It has been reported that the Japanese government is planning to launch a self-driving lane on some sections of the New Tomei Expressway by 2024 and will allow commercial operation of SAE Level 4 fully autonomous trucks in 2026.

“Self-driving technology is a promising solution to the driver shortage issue that Japan’s logistics industry faces,” said Cheng Lu, President and Chief Executive Officer at TuSimple.

“We aim to actively build business partnerships with local companies and develop the technology that will meet local customer demand,

“We are dedicated to providing the most reliable, safe and efficient autonomous truck solutions for the long-haul transportation industry,” he said.

Founded in 2015, TuSimple is a global autonomous driving technology company headquartered in San Diego, California, with operations in the United States and Asia.

The firm is developing a commercial-ready, fully autonomous (SAE Level 4) driving solution for long-haul heavy-duty trucks and aims to transform the $4 trillion global truck freight industry through the company’s artificial intelligence (AI) technology, which makes it possible for trucks to drive safely autonomously, operate nearly continuously, and reduce fuel consumption by 10%+ relative to manually driven trucks.

As of March 2023, TuSimple trucks have recorded more than 10 million cumulative miles through testing, research, and freight delivery.

In December 2021, TuSimple made history by executing the world’s first fully autonomous semi-truck run on public roads in Arizona, United States without any human intervention.

Its global achievements include the world’s first fully autonomous, ‘driver-out’ semi-truck run on open public roads, and development of the world’s first Autonomous Freight Network (AFN).

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