TuSimple Gets New Toys

The major graphics company, Nvidia released a statement yesterday they are investing in TuSimple. TuSimple is an autonomous truck start-up firm that focuses on developing the required technology for the purposes of autonomous travel over long distances, especially for freight. They may only be two years old but they already have research and development factories operating in San Diego as well as, Beijing and control and command at least 100 employees. The technology the firm uses is based on the combination of computer vision algorithms, millimeter wave radars as well as, 3D HD mapping. This is added to the camera data coming from the eight cameras and resulting computer vision processing that it handles. This enables the trucks to have self-driving for numerous scenarios except that of an off road experience.

TuSimple Gets New Toys

According to TuSimple, the millimeter wave radar enables mapping for distances in excess of 200 meters from the vehicle to chart its path adequately when traveling. That is a step up from the standard 80-meter distance categorization which is found in the current LIDAR arrays. According to the chipmaker, TuSimple is already making use of Nvidia GPU’s as part of the autonomous driving framework. It is also providing the Drive PX 2 autonomous computer, the Jetson TX2. This is one of the fastest or rather efficient, embedded AI computing devices out there.

Presently, TuSimple has already done a test run designated SAE Level 4, a true autonomous driving trial between San Diego and Yuma, Arizona. This took place a few months ago and the run spanned 200 miles utilizing camera information to navigate the route. TuSimple claims they are currently able to achieve up to the centimeter accuracy when it comes to truck positioning, which may also entail tunnel routes as the decision making-artificial intelligence system within the vehicle enables safe route navigation and so forth.

The End of an Era and the Beginning of Automated Cargo Transport

According to CTO of TuSimple, Xiaodi Hou, the combination of Nvidia tech with present expertise when it comes to computer vision and artificial intelligence is going to lead to a world class platform that will cause an upheaval in the freight industry. He is not wrong though considering various self-driving giants have been tinkering and even executing the idea of autonomous cargo transport over land using self-driven trucks. For example, Uber, in conglomeration with Otto managed a test drive entailing an 18 wheeler carrying 50,000 cans of Budweiser from Loveland to Colorado Springs. The run was successful and is indicative of major interests within this field. With the current trend, freight transport will become autonomous within the next decade, thus improving efficiency enormously by improving time management and cutting costs. Of course, it would also cost thousands of jobs as the trucking industry will become obsolete though. It is unavoidable, however, and firms are racing to have their piece of the upcoming pie. As such, TuSimple’s latest funding round was made by the Chinese social media corporation, Sina to the amount of $20 million. Nvidia has not disclosed the entire amount that it has invested but one can only guess it is quite substantial in terms of machinery, research and liquid funding.