US Postal Service Tests Self-Driving Trucks to Move Mail
The United States Postal Service, or USPS has begun tests with self-driving trucks to transport mail.
The Postal Service is partnering with a California based company, called TuSimple, on the project. The tests are being carried out over two weeks.
Two of TuSimple's self-driving trucks will transport mail between the southwestern cities of Phoenix, Arizona and Dallas, Texas. The trucks will make five round trips between the cities. Each one will cover a distance of about 3,300 kilometers.
The testing is aimed at seeing whether the self-driving technology can reduce transportation times and costs and improve road safety. If successful, the Postal Service could deploy the trucks permanently to move mail between major U.S. population centers.
"The work with TuSimple is our first initiative in autonomous long-haul transportation," said Postal Service official Kim Frum. She told the Reuters news agency the project is part of USPS efforts "to operate a future class of vehicles" using the latest technologies.
TuSimple said a human "safety driver" will be sitting in the driver's seat at all times during the trips to intervene if necessary. An engineer will ride in the passenger seat as an observer and to take notes.
The trucks will travel on major interstate roads that pass through Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
TuSimple noted on its website the trucks are equipped with a camera system that sees about 1,000 meters down the road. It said this provides 35 seconds of reaction time, giving the system enough time "to make the safest and most efficient driving decisions."
The California company and the USPS have yet to talk about the cost of the program, but Frum said no tax dollars were used. The Postal Service pays for its operating costs through sales of postage stamps and other products.
One of the main goals of the technology is to remove the need for truck drivers.
Chuck Price is TuSimple's chief product officer. Price told Reuters he thinks the testing project is a good example of the way autonomous trucks will be used in the future. "These long runs are beyond the range of a single human driver, which means today if they do this run they have to figure out how to cover it with multiple drivers in the vehicle," he said.
Transportation experts say the United States is currently facing a shortage of truck drivers. The American Trucking Associations estimates there will be a shortage of as many as 174,500 drivers by the year 2024. The group says this will result from an aging workforce and the difficulty getting younger people to work as truck drivers.
Price said self-driving trucks built to transport goods have some advantages over driverless vehicles. They generally operate on interstates that do not have the complex traffic systems found in cities. This will reduce mapping requirements for the trucks and lower safety risks involving people walking on streets or riding bicycles, Price said.
I'm Bryan Lynn.
1.result from 导致
Many hair problems result from what you eat.
2.carried out 实施
Strict safety tests are carried out on food additives.
3.take notes 记笔记
He drew out his notebook and began to take notes.
4.aimed at 旨在
The government rushed through legislation aimed at Mafia leaders.
5.Transportation experts say the United States is currently facing a shortage of truck drivers.
a shortage of 短缺
A shortage of funds is preventing the UN from monitoring relief
There is a shortage of council housing
6.TuSimple said a human "safety driver" will be sitting in the driver's seat at all times during the trips to intervene if necessary.
at all times 一直；始终
The centre is staffed at all times.
Doctor Liu is on call at all times.
美国邮政局与加州的TuSimple公司就该项目展开合作 。测试将在两周内进行 。
TuSimple公司的两辆自动驾驶卡车将在亚利桑那州的凤凰城以及德克萨斯州的达拉斯这两座西南城市之间派送邮件 。卡车将在两座城市往返5趟 。每次往返路程约3300公里 。
测试旨在了解自动驾驶技术能否缩短运输时间、降低成本，改善道路安全 。如果测试成功，美国邮政局或将在主要人口中心城市之间永久性部署这类卡车派送邮件 。
美国邮政局官员金·弗拉姆（Kim Frum） 表示：“与TuSimple公司的合作是我们在自主长途运输方面的第一个项目 。”她告诉路透社，该项目是美国邮政局采用最新技术“运营未来一类车辆”的一部分 。
TuSimple表示，运输途中会有“安全驾驶员”坐在驾驶座，在必要的情况下进行干预 。而工程师会坐在副驾位置进行观察并记录 。
这家加州公司和美国邮政局尚未讨论该项目的成本，但是弗拉姆表示没有使用纳税人的钱 。美国邮政局通过销售邮票和其它产品来支付其运营成本 。
查克·普莱斯（Chuck Price）是TuSimple公司的首席产品官 。普莱斯告诉路透社表示，他认为该测试项目是未来自动驾驶卡车应用的范例 。他说：“这种长途驾驶超出了一位驾驶员的能力范围，这意味着如果今天他们要跑这一趟，他们必须弄清楚如何让车内的多名驾驶员跑完全程 。”
运输专家表示，美国目前正面临卡车司机短缺的问题 。美国卡车运输协会估计，到2024年，卡车司机的缺口将达到17.45万名 。该协会表示，这是劳动力老龄化以及很难让年轻人从事卡车运输工作导致的 。
普莱斯表示，与无人驾驶汽车相比，用于运输货物的自动驾驶卡车具有部分优势 。它们通常在州际公路上行驶，避开了城市复杂的交通系统 。普莱斯表示，这将降低对卡车的测绘要求，也降低了行人以及骑自行车等安全风险 。