Liberty Mutual Insurance plans to work with TuSimple, a self-driving technology company, to assess if autonomous trucks are safer than human-driven vehicles.
Specifically, the companies will compare how autonomous technology performs in trucks versus humans driving those same vehicles. The goal: better understanding of the technology’s benefits and how it performs.
“We are excited to leverage our vast experience in safety and risk management to support the continued roll out and scale of cutting-edge technologies in the trucking and logistics industry,” David Blessing, Liberty Mutual’s Chief Underwriting Officer for New Mobility, said in prepared remarks.
He added that the collaboration with San Diego- based TuSimple will help advance the insurer’s “ongoing efforts to develop custom insurance [products and services] for companies operating autonomous vehicle fleets today, and into the future.”
Jim Mullen, Chief Administrative and Legal Officer for TuSimple, said autonomous vehicles will prove to have an important role to play in the commercial truck market.
“We believe the benefits of autonomous vehicles are powerful and will play a vital role in reducing the number of truck-related fatalities in the future,” Mullen said. He added that distract, impaired and fatigued driving cause most accidents, and that autonomous trucks should help eliminate those risks.
TuSimple’s Autonomous Freight Network operates a fleet of 50 L4 autonomous trucks across the states of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. TuSimple transports freight for revenue on highways and surface streets for customers such as UPS, U.S. Xpress, and Berkshire Hathaway’s McLane Company, among others, and plans to expand the Autonomous Freight Network from coast-to-coast by 2024, the company said.
TuSimple, launched in 2015, also has operations in Arizona, Texas, China, Japan and Europe.
Liberty Mutual’s partnership comes as self-driving vehicle research advances around the world.
Toyota, for example, is building a sensor-laden city from the ground up outside of Tokyo in order to test autonomous vehicles for transport, deliveries and mobile shops.
There are also increasing concerns about regulatory oversight. Recently, three Democratic U.S. senators said they are introducing legislation that would mandate installation of driver-monitoring systems to insurer motorists pay attention while using self-driving systems such as Tesla’s Autopilot.
Source: Liberty Mutual, TuSimple